Alana Paterson is a reminder of the great things in life. The great outdoors, great times, travel, drinking beers and skateboarding with friends. Captured in such a transparent, honest way. She currently lives in British Columbia, and graduated from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver B.C., as well as The Lesley University of Boston. We’re huge fans of her work, she sent over a few photos and we did a quick interview with her for this new Photo Credit.
What Youth: How old were you when you got into photography?
Alana Paterson: I started shooting photos when I was about 16. I was given an old family Pentax. At the time I was skating a lot, smoking weed, like it was a meaningful to do and scuba diving. I started out with skate photos though. My first roll was of my friend Andrew Marchand-body at the old Esquimalt skatepark.
Do you remember the first time that you made a photograph that made you want to keep doing it or that felt like your own? That’s a good question. I can’t really. I think it was all just accumulative. That first roll really sticks in my mind. Oh and also this photo of all these different colored empty paint cans shot from above. I think I took it when I was 17 and my mom just lost her shit over it. Pretty cute looking back.
How did you develop your skills? technically and creatively. did you go to school or have a mentor? I went to university. My mentors were mostly in other fields. Architecture, marine construction, carpentry, teaching, working on the water, scuba diving, mechanics, farming, but my mentors have always been more about a general perception and way of living rather then photography specifically. In school I had some neat profs who showed me a different way of looking at things.
When did you first consider photography as a career path? I never did [laughs]. I went to art school when I was 19 ’cause my mom was kicking me out of the house and gave me a half year to get my shit together. At 20, when I got my first 60 bucks for a quarter page editorial image, I almost fell over. I honestly never imagined getting this far and I have no expectations of the future, just working hard.
Any photos that you’ve daydreamed of? Constantly letting images go. Sometimes you have to let things enter your collective subconscious and hope they resurface somewhere else in your life when the time (and lighting) is right. I wish I had more time to work on personal projects but I work on a farm three days a week in Pemberton and book shoots on the the other days. My partner and his brother and I are building a cabin on Gabriola Island on the weekends so some of the ideas I have really get put on the back burner — especially any that require travel.
What are you into shooting now? I really enjoy shooting assignments. Interesting people, places, important things that people are doing. Things far removed from myself that a publication wants covered. I enjoy the challenge of making something or someone new to me relatable to an audience. And also illustrating an idea for a writer is really interesting to me.
Want to thank anybody for where you’re at now? Yeah, just about everyone. Especially all the hard working bad ass editors out there. The unsung heroes of the photography world.