“Why, Hello y'all!” - Red Panda Cubs by Chris Laforet Via Flickr: The true stars of the day were the baby Red Pandas. These cubs, Chewbacca and Akkali, kept drawing the zoo patrons back to see their cute antics. They are too cute for words! At this point, they are about 4 months old.
Update: This image was used in an article by the Knoxville Sentinel announcing Mozilla’s adoption of the Red Pandas from the Knoxville Zoo.
Do you have a favourite place to escape to? Tell us a little about it and why you go there.
There’s a state park named Panther Creek in my hometown of Morristown, TN and it is most definitely my safe haven. I credit my initial interest and love for the outdoors to that park. It’s relatively small with around 30 total miles of hiking trails, but the diversity of landscapes and wildlife is really impressive. What started as a hobby when I had free time quickly became a lifestyle and I found myself watching the clock at work or in class until I could get to the park. If I ever need “me time” that’s the first place I turn to. There is a healing energy about it.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m not the most routine-oriented person, but waking up and making coffee is always the first thing I do, typically followed by checking emails and social media accounts. I’ve started going back to college for Film/Video Production this year so I balance out classes with a part-time job, as well as freelance work that helps pay the bills. I prioritize getting outdoors and exercising, as well as shooting of course. Aside from that, I indulge in good food, craft beer and live music as often as possible.
It seems music has a big influence on you. Does it inspire the way you photograph? If so, how?
I started playing drums about 10 years ago and haven’t stopped since. Being a musician started my creative journey. When I’m not making music, I am most certainly listening to it. I think the influence comes out in my photographs through the candid nature that I prefer to shoot in. I try to expose the raw features in whatever I am shooting and that correlates with the music I am into. I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve but I think that is a common characteristic among creatives. On the flip side, I get a personal audio-visual experience while shooting and listening to music simultaneously which is what led me to my interest in film-making. I’ve become a bit addicted to that tingly feeling you get when you hear a good song or see a stunning photograph.
“I always like summer
you can eat fresh corn
from daddy’s garden
and lots of
and homemade ice cream
at the church picnic
and listen to
at the church
and go to the mountains with
and go barefooted
and be warm
all the time
not only when you go to bed
Someone in New York once said they were automatically interesting cause they lived there
and how I couldn’t understand because I was from a small town
and all I could really think about was UTK’s body farm and TVA and quentin tarantino and nikki giovanni and even dollywood and oak ridge
and then I thought about the dogwood trails and how the grass smells when you go to the country and how the clouds shadow on the mountains and the intricate details on historic buildings in downtown and how clear the water gets at norris dam and how in some neighborhoods, people wave at you when you pass by, even if you don’t know them
I thought about porches I sat on and cars that I road in, with my feet out the window I thought about ghost hunting in every cemetery in this god damn city about funerals I’ve been to, weddings I’ve attended parades, events, my fucking senior prom dogs I have pet and cats I have snuggled
I thought about how I feel when it’s 70 degrees and sunny when everything is green for a while
I thought about my god daughter’s laugh and how she’s afraid of leaves on the ground
I thought about how it’s funny to me when people say “Knox-ville” instead of “Knox-vull.”
I thought about all the times I’d gone to church and how when I was 10 years old, I defended abortion to a girl older than me at bible study
I thought about how I lived here my whole life and didn’t appreciate it until I was twenty. And it’s been three years since I fell in love and I still feel blessed.