As we sat down to chat with Amanda Crew recently, we were so excited to hear about her many creative pursuits since we had last caught up. If you are a TV or film buff, you may recognize her as Monica from HBO’s Silicon Valley or as Kikki Jones in the recently-released Age of Adaline with Blake Lively. When she is not acting, you can find Amanda viewing the world from behind the lens of her favorite film (and sometimes digital) cameras. Read on to learn more about how Amanda started her photographic journey as well as her recently-launched 100 Day Project, which has brought new life and focus to her photography.
Amanda carries the Leather Brixton in antique cognac.
ONA: How did you get into photography?
AC: I’ve always been drawn to photography. About 10 years ago, I was traveling to Bulgaria to film a movie and I bought my first ever DSLR camera with me. I was so intimidated by all the buttons and options that I had never used it before. Cut to a few years later, I found myself in a slump with my acting career, so I started looking for other creative outlets to fill my time. Most actors write scripts in between projects, but I’ve never felt the urge to write, so the natural choice for me was photography. I read everything I could about photography. I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet some awesome photographers along the way, who have taught me so much.
ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?
AC: My go to film camera is the Nikon F3 with a Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 lens. For digital, I just upgraded to the Canon 5D Mark III with a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens, which I’m obsessed with.
ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity? And what is your dream project?
AC: Because my main career is acting, my ability to do photography work is not always consistent. One day I have all the time in the world and the next day I’m flying to Atlanta to film for a month -- this became frustrating. When I heard about the 100 Day Project from The Great Discontent, I decided this would be the perfect way to bring focus to my photography. I’m just over halfway through the project, and it’s definitely had its highs and lows. Some days I’m dragging my feet to do it, and other days I’m so grateful for the challenge. My 100 Day Project is to photograph a different person each day and accompany their photo with the last text message they sent. I have a huge fear of talking to strangers, so this project has been great for pushing me out of my comfort zone. And yes, I still get nervous every time!
ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?
AC: The toughest part is staying inspired and avoiding comparison. I struggle with that in my acting career as well. I think it’s a pretty universal struggle for all artists.
ONA: Describe your style of shooting.
AC: I like to create mood boards to help me figure out the tone and vibe of a shoot but when I start shooting I try to just stay in the moment and let things happen naturally. My favorite images are the ones that are very “lived in” and spontaneous. I love imperfect images, and it’s hard to capture those if you are micro-managing every element of a shoot.
ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer just starting out?
AC: I feel pretty new to the photography game, so I’ll pass along the advice that has been given to me -- “just shoot!”
ONA: How did you hear about us?
AC: I travel a lot for work and I was searching for a camera bag that didn’t look like I was going on a safari with my grandparents - you know the ones I’m talking about. I fell in love with ONA when I saw an ONA bag featured on a blog I follow. A lot of people have come up to me asking me where I got my Leather Brixton. They’re always shocked when I tell them it’s a camera bag. Mission accomplished!
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