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Conversations with Allison Davis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Allison Davis.

Allison, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Having been the girl with a camera since 5th grade, I’ve always loved telling stories through photographs. I pursued a degree in journalism and worked as a reporter for a couple of years out of college, then at a church’s media department before beginning my business as a wedding & portrait photographer in 2008.

Having been successful as a wedding photographer for 13 years, the pandemic halted my business in unimaginable ways.

I had recently begun moving my business from Dallas, Texas to San Diego, CA. Having not established myself enough in a new market, the pandemic closures in California completely crushed my momentum in rebuilding my business. I tried making pivot in real estate photography to get by, but I absolutely hated it. All my creative energy was sucked away and I didn’t want to lose my love for photography, so I quit and started pursuing creative outlets as an artist.

While dreaming of personal projects and praying about how to use my time for 2020, I dreamt up the idea of photographing the entire west coast in 30 days while camping in my car. With little money, nothing but time and a love for the coast, it was an awesome project idea I jumped wholeheartedly into.

I love the coast. I love the ocean. It’s one thing that drew me to making a big move from Texas. So I figured, if anything, I was taking advantage of living the coastal life and pursuing beauty amidst a time of loss.

I’m a storyteller, so my dream was to create my first book and produce art for my first fine art photography show. So I began planning this trip and made it happen between the only two small weddings I had in the fall of 2020.

I completed my 30 day trip in September & October 2020. I photographed about 3116 miles of coastlines, photographed 220 locations, shot 28,000 images, edited 7,000 images and culled it down to about 320 images for the book. There is so much beauty along the west coast that I’m stoked to share with my readers.

Once I edited all of the images, I spent time designing the layout & flow of the book. After completing my first draft in January 2021, I began exploring publishing options, speaking with publishers and weighing the decisions that come with bringing this project to print. I decided to self-publish because of the better profit margin possibilities & control of the project. So I contracted out typography design to Mark Fallis, editing to Carrie Cochran, hired David Veller as map designer, Meshali Mitchell as my portrait photographer, Maggie Mahan as my behind the scenes photographer, Derek Watson of Lampstand Story Co as my short film creator, Ashley Graham as my public relations manager, Marisa Donnelley as a writer and Marley Langford as my ads campaign designer and developer.

Now I’m launching my book on Kickstarter. Hopeful to grow and audience and share this work I’ve created for the world to enjoy, I chose Kickstarter as my platform to sell the first edition of my book “Revealed at the Edge: A 30 Day Photographic Journey of the American West Coast.” The Kickstarter will be from July 23-August 23. As a crowdfunding site, it’s an all or nothing design: so I am hopeful people will connect with my story and with what I created to support me as a local artist and small business owner.

I’m thrilled to share who I am as an artist, to share my pursuit of beauty and to give a beautiful journey of adventure in my debut fine art coffee table book.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The pandemic and its’ closures have been an unbelievable struggle. As a self-employed, hardworking, client-based business, the loss of gatherings left me at a huge loss. An emotional loss, a loss of purpose, a loss of joy, and of course, a loss of income.

I had just begun rebuilding my life in a new place and was feeling so hopeful about continuing my career as a wedding and portrait photographer in Southern California. But without momentum in connecting with people, without the opportunity to accurately plan for a large-scale event, and without the opportunity to connect with new clients, I lost so much.

I did the trip as cheaply as I could possibly handle by car camping for the majority of my 30-day trip. I have a small honda CR-V and I loaded it up with clothes, my equipment, a camping mattress and a few things to help me hike, photograph and explore the west coast on my solo photography adventure.

The timing of the trip was a small window that I had before winter came… and it just so happened that as I began my trip, the wildfires of the west were growing and wreaking havoc on communities and the landscape. I continued through the fires, through the covid closures and through the challenges of a long project to produce this work of art.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’ve been a wedding and portrait photographer for 13 years. In crafting and building my business over the years, I’ve come to value printed work: specifically in the form of an album. I believe that I’m a storyteller and that a book is the best format to enjoy and preserve your memories… no one goes through their hard drives to look at old photos. And I believe your wedding photos aren’t meant to be disposable images you swipe through and never look at again. So I believe in creating albums to preserve your memories and I create the design for my clients so they simply get a beautiful, one-of-a-kind, custom heirloom-quality wedding album.

As an artist, I wanted to create a book because I believe print preserves beauty. I wanted to contribute something beautiful to people’s homes and lives by having a visual journey of the west coast in their hands to experience the photographs better than simply digital images they may swipe through.

I’m a writer and I loved writing pieces that shared about the journey about my heart as an artist and about the way I see and experience the world as a landscape artist.

I’m so proud of this book: so proud of the painstaking hours it’s taken to dream up, photograph, edit, design, and prepare for press as well as all of the marketing and promotional sharing to launch this into the world. I feel like a musician dropping their first album: I’m so proud of it and I cannot wait to see where creating this takes me on my life journey next.

What matters most to you? Why?
As a photographic artist, I believe I’m a “Witness to Life & Beauty.” I believe I get to bear witness to the beauty God has created in this world. That’s what has drawn me to landscape photography. I love the untouched places. The raw, natural, wild places. I love seeing creation in its bear, rugged state. I see so much of my heart and life reflected in it. I believe that, as an artist, I can illuminate those things for others and show them something beautiful and help them connect with creation, with themselves and with God.

Pricing:

  • Early Bird Kickstarter Book: $75
  • Kickstarter Book: $90
  • Retail Book Price: $95

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Photographers: Meshali Mitchell Maggie Hargrave Video: Lampstand Story Co.

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