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Photo by Lauryn Hottinger

Photography was always the coolest, most elusive art to me. It involved a language I would never be cool enough to speak. I started as an artist’s model in drawing groups. Then I graduated to photography modeling as it was more lucrative and there was more need for it. I was flown around the nation to model nude for photography workshops and personal projects. It was amazing and fun. It was also an excellent vehicle for my own creative expression. After three years, I got a little burned out on modeling and started playing with the concept of actually taking my own photos. Still, I saw photography as an art above my head, but I got a small DSLR and thought I’d try it anyway. Just fading out of the modeling world, I was the only thing I could think to photograph. Afterall, I was what everyone else was photographing, right? It made sense.

I started taking self portraits. I took a lot. I took them because I knew how to model, and I needed to learn and practice my camera settings. Self portraits became an art form for me. When I was more confident with my camera, I started taking photos of other people. After about a year, I had a portfolio, and after four years, I had a business. Now, I take photos of many things, but I always fall back on my self portraits as a means of personal expression—bringing it full circle.

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