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Issue 8: Alayna Jones

What inspired you to pick up your craft?
- I believe everyone is drawn to photography. People love taking pictures. We take pictures on our phones, on professional cameras, on Polaroids, and on digital cameras. We take pictures of everything: friends, family, food, our animals, the moon, and pretty sunsets. I find it beautiful how everyone loves to take pictures of what they love. This inspired me to become a photographer. There was no defining moment or specific thing, just the act of wanting to take pictures of things I love like everyone else.
2. What about your art makes you who you are?
- My art is an extension of myself. My art is literally who I am. It’s how I express my thoughts, ideas, struggles, happiness, sadness, and everything in between.
3. Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?
- I draw creative inspiration from everyday life. Inspiration comes to me randomly. Sometimes I’ll be grocery shopping and see an outfit I like, and then I’ll start planning a photo shoot for the outfit in my head. This happens all the time, in class, at the park, or even at other photo shoots. Another way I get inspiration is through other photographers and artists. Listening to music, looking at paintings, and looking at other creative photography helps me think of new ideas.
4. What is the most important feeling for you to evoke in viewers of your work?
- When people look at my work, I hope they feel inspired. Besides photography, I’m also a writer. I love writing poems, and I’m even working on a book. I want my writings and photography to be so inspiring that they spark creativity in others. So, I think in any form of art, the most rewarding thing an artist can feel is being someone’s inspiration. How beautiful is it to say, “This creator, or this piece of art, inspired me to do something great too.”
5. How would you like to inspire other creators?
- Sara Ruhl, in “The Clean House,” talks about an American surgeon named Halsted who created a medicine for his wife. In the book, Halsted says, “I loved her to the point of invention.” I believe this is how we should love art. We love an artist, or a piece of art, so much that we are moved to create. I would love to inspire other creators to create. You can move a person, you can make them fall in love with your art, you can evoke emotion in them, but it’s like I said before, there’s nothing more beautiful than inspiring someone else to create.
6. Detail your creative process.
- The first step in my creative process is an idea. My ideas usually come from topics I’ve thought about for a long time. If my idea is writing related, I typically just start writing. I don’t plan my writing, but I will write, rewrite, rewrite again, leave my writing alone for a week or two, then finish writing it. The only way I can finish a writing and love it is by revising and stepping away from it for a bit. For photography, once I’m set on an idea, I’ll make a list of materials I need. Things of need include a location, models, props, lighting, etc. If the photo shoots for Verge, we discuss the photo shoot and then assign models to the photo shoot. From there, I plan the photo shoot alongside the models, stylists, and directors. If it’s a photo shoot I’m planning on my own, I contact potential models, let them know my plan, and pick a date. On photo shoot days, I always have a huge tote packed with everything you can think of clips, hair ties, makeup, a speaker, extra camera batteries, extra lighting, and much more. During photo shoots, I like to have fun, play music, and take as much time as possible taking photos. After the photo shoot is over, I edit the pictures. My editing process is like my writing. I edit, reedit, edit some more, step away from the pictures for a bit, and then finish editing.
7. How do you take a ‘blank canvas’ and turn it into something you are proud of?
- Taking your time with art is crucial for creating work you're proud of. If I rush through a photo shoot, or rush a poem, or rush editing my pictures, I will hate them. It sounds silly, but when I take my time with my work, I know I will love it. By giving myself time, I’m able to adjust and analyze my work. I can recognize things I want to change.
8. What is the hardest challenge to overcome as a creative in your craft?
- The hardest challenge to overcome as a creator is a creative block. There’s nothing I hate more than having writer’s block or a creative block where I can’t think of photo shoot ideas. Creative blocks are stressful. They feel hopeless and make you question yourself as a creative. There’s been some blocks I’ve had where I wanted to give up on writing or photography altogether. But, as frustrating as it is, I believe it’s important for artists to know that you’re only frustrated because you care.


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