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Art & Life with Alyson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alyson Lofgren.

Alyson, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I’m a Midwest girl, born & raised in Wisconsin, who has found herself living in some of the most beautiful cities the US has to offer thanks to my US Navy diver husband of 9 years. From way back to the days of disposable film cameras through the day I took the plunge and launched my business 7 years ago, I’ve always been the girl with the camera. I was blown away the first time a friend asked me to take couples’ photos for her on an abandoned railroad bridge in my tiny hometown. I was rocking a consumer level Canon Rebel with a kit lens and edited the session with a popular online program at the time called Picnik *pause for massive cringing and facepalms*

One cross-country move and major camera upgrade later, another couple of friends in San Diego insisted they pay me to shoot their engagement photos. Having never formally directed or shot a session for a fee, I suggested they pay me in beer & dinner downtown (because that’s how 21-year-old me rolled) and off we went on my first ‘paid’ session. Over the next two years, I officially launched my business, shooting anything and everything, eager to explore what the field of photography had to offer. It was during my time here in San Diego that I discovered military homecoming photography, a documentary-style of shooting that ignited my passion for storytelling.

2012 found me packing up and moving to Hawaii after my husband received orders to Hickam AFB. My four years living on Oahu were a blur of dreamy beach sessions, epic jungle shoots, and deeply emotional military homecomings. Each reunion between a military member returning home from deployment and their family who have felt so incomplete in their absence tells a completely different story. The anticipation in a military spouse’s posture while waiting for the bus, ship, or plane to arrive, the flash of recognition in a small child’s eyes as they run with open arms to greet their parent for the first time in a year, the instant unraveling of months of hard-built strength in an outpouring of tears and smiles as the family embraces, whole again – these are the moments of raw emotion and connection I’m drawn to. Whether it be a military homecoming, birth story, or lifestyle family session I’ve continued to seek out these stories and moments since moving back to San Diego last year.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
As a photographer, I set out to capture those little moments of beauty between the chaos of life every time I pick up my camera. I love the challenge of photographing a whirlwind of activity and emotions and coming away with little glimpses of intense connection, fierce strength, or gentle vulnerability captured in my images. Beauty doesn’t always have to be Stepford smiles plastered on a perfectly posed family. I embrace unstructured sessions and strive to capture those fleeting moments – of childhood, of love, of growth, of struggle – that will someday be forgotten while highlighting the grace, strength, and gentleness of the clients that they rarely see themselves. One quote that resonated with me when I first launched my career reads, “it’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are”. If my work has accomplished the latter, I feel I’ve done my job well.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
I feel like artists across all fields are consistently being undervalued. I’ve read post after post over the years by fellow creatives, from fine artists to hair stylists, sharing stories of potential clients arguing over their pricing and calling them greedy for charging prices that simply cover their business expenses and provide a sustainable, livable wage. I often hear “Oh cool, photography! So, what’s your real job?” when meeting someone new and discussing what each other does for work. Photography may be my passion, but it *is* also my job and how I make my hard-earned living.

I don’t know of any other profession (besides teaching, but that’s a whole different issue), where society seems to have this idea that a professional using their education, skills, talent, time, money and energy to provide a service and product doesn’t deserve a fair wage in return. It can be very draining for someone in the creative field to constantly defend their worth as a professional. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have worked with a multitude of incredible clients who value my style of shooting, editing, and creative direction and continue to support me with their business and referrals. But, sadly I’ve seen many other artists leave their businesses behind after struggling to make a living and getting burnt out.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
The best way to see what I’m working on currently is to keep in touch via Facebook (fb.com/alysonlofgrenphotography). I’m working on getting my business Instagram going (@alofgrenphoto), but for now I post updates most often on Facebook. My website also features galleries by session type as well as full session examples.

The best way to support my work as an artist is to send referrals my way. If you see a post on social media asking for local photographers, if someone in your life is newly pregnant or has a loved one returning from deployment soon, or know someone is trying to figure out the perfect unique gift to give just tag my business page or give me a shout out. Connections and word of mouth are what my business runs on, and I love the sense of community that comes with my clients all being linked in some way.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Images by Alyson Lofgren Photography

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