Meet photographer Amryn Shae Jaekel, whose photos evoke feelings of familiarity and spontaneity. We caught up to talk about her artistic path, her inspirations and much more.

Iuliana: Hey Amryn! How are you? Let’s start off by introducing yourself. How would you describe your personality in three words?
I’m doing well! In three words: soft, sentimental, creative. I am the most emotional, loving, sappy gal and I always need to be making stuff! Photos, collages, poems, videos – it doesn’t matter!

Iuliana: How would you describe your photography style?
Nostalgic. I want my photos to evoke feelings of familiarity, spontaneity; like a scene from your favourite coming-of-age film.

Iuliana: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos at the beginning?
How my damn camera worked! I am fully self-taught and so for the longest time I really didn’t know what I was doing (and apparently didn’t have the manual for my camera around). I was lucky to have a camera given to me fairly young, but it took a LOT of trial and error to get it to do what I wanted it to haha!

Iuliana: Who influenced you the most? Is there any other photographer that you consider as a kind of idol?
Probably my friends, namely my closest friend Zara (@dislation on Instagram). Her passion for photography really brought my own interest in it back up to the surface. So the more we came up with concepts together, and the more I modelled for her, the more I longed to get behind the camera again myself and create my own fantasies. I also have to credit my family, many of whom are also photographers, for giving me the opportunities and the equipment to get my start in the photo world. I have also been influenced heavily by the music I listen to and the movies I watch.

Iuliana: What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best? What motivates you to continue to take pictures?
My start-up in film has kept me motivated! Digital photos never fully satisfied me or turned out exactly how I had imagined. The tangible experience of shooting film photos, I find, is so much more rewarding, and I’ve been able to create my dream images using my film setup.

Iuliana: How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
STUDY! Reading manuals, watching videos, testing different camera settings, looking up tips, practice, practice, practice!

Iuliana: Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
My favourite is probably my sets of photos from when my best friend Maja flew to Canada to meet me. I filled up 4 rolls of film from her week-long visit, and they have been some of my most treasured shots. They do exactly what I want my photos to do; tell a story, make you feel nostalgic, make you feel like you’re living in a movie.

Iuliana: What is your pictures’ process until they are “good to go” and ready to be uploaded to your Instagram page?
Honestly, I don’t do much with my photos. Once I get my film scans back I may do slight corrections, but overall I don’t edit much! The odd time that I use my DSLR I definitely spend more time editing, but my film shots are usually good to go!

Iuliana: How do you get inspired? And what inspires you the most? Movies, books or magazines? Or is it just what’s around you?
Music. I ALWAYS have music playing when I shoot, and often listening to music casually leads me to create new concepts. I also use the photos I take to make collages with old magazine scraps, and so the repurposing of my art and integration of it into another form of media also keeps me inspired. Otherwise, I have a huge stockpile of saved posts on Instagram that I study to give me some inspo!

Iuliana: What are you passionate about besides photography? What do you do in your free time?
A lot of people think that I studied photography or art in college or that I want to/do photography professionally… which is not true at all! I studied Early Childhood Education in college and I’m doing my postgrad in Behavioural Science this coming fall. As much as I love taking photos, and as much as my art is such a huge part of my identity and my happiness, my true passion lies in being an educator and with working with children with special needs (specifically autism).

Iuliana: If any, what are the five biggest tips you would give to an aspiring photographer?

  1. If you want to shoot film, start by getting yourself a point-and-shoot to get a feel for things. Eventually you’ll be comfortable switching to a manual setup, but a casual point-and-shoot is a safe bet to start with!
  2. Start a Pinterest board or a “saved posts” folder on Instagram for your inspiration. I have upwards of 6 different folders to sort different moods into, and when I feel ready to take photos, I often look back at those folders to brainstorm specific poses, lighting setups, etc. Having a reserve of photos you like the look of is a really helpful resource when you need to inspire yourself!
  3. That being said, it is SO important that you find your own style. You will never be fully fulfilled with your work if you are just copying the exact photos someone else has already taken.
  4. Follow people on Instagram, comment on their posts, submit to magazines, use hashtags, collaborate, network, network, network!
  5. Be authentic. Make things that mean something to you.

Follow Amryn on Instagram here.

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