Courtney Coles

How long have you been doing photography for? 
I first uttered the words, “I want to be a photographer when I grow up” at the age of 13. 

What made you want to pursue it? 
I’ve always been the one to document an event. When it comes to concerts, I started as a way to remember the show. It then grew to, “how else would a fan want to view this?” 

What’s the most difficult part of your career been so far? 
Outside of the typical, “I’m not consistently busy!” woes, the most difficult part is making time for myself. It’s easy to get wrapped up in working and hanging out with friends, but I have a difficult time giving myself a day or two off where I’m not doing anything. 

Do you have favorite show you’ve shot? What is it? 
It’s a tie between The Regrettes’ album release show and Lauren Ruth Ward. 

Is there a show you’d love to shoot again? 
Not a day goes by where I don’t wish I could photograph Local Natives at the Echo in 2009 again. It was their last hometown show before they blew up and it was sold out. At the time I didn’t full grasp that I shouldn’t stand in one spot the whole night. 

How would you describe your personal style? 
My style is intimate and a bit nostalgic for a time I wasn’t alive for. 

Has being a woman in your field been difficult for you? Have you dealt with any effects on sexism in your career? How did you handle it? 
It’s not just about being a woman, but a black woman. I live by the, “if the boys can do it, so can I” mentality. If the dudes can be in the pit, so can I. 

What other photographers have had a big impact on you? 
In music? Lauren Dukoff, Annie Leibovitz, Autumn de Wilde, Allister Ann. 
Overall? Carrie Mae Weems, Nan Goldin, Elinor Carucci and Rania Matar. 

Best work you’ve ever done? 
The work that got me into graduate school. 

Any advice for aspiring photographers? 
Having a body of work outside of music is important. Even if no one ever sees it, make sure you have something outside of music that speaks to you. For the love of God,
be nice to each other and lift up your community.