A Conversation with Photographer Rachel June
Written by: Ashley Voss
Personalities of New Orleans, LA
I hope to help the outsiders realize that this city does not primarily consist of crime and impoverished youth.
Last Fall I relocated to New Orleans, LA to immerse myself in a blooming contemporary arts scene and intern at several arts organizations. (Stay tuned for a discussion on how internship opportunities can boost your chances of landing your dream job and grow as an individual!) It was at the Contemporary Arts Center where I met fellow intern and fabulous photographer Rachel Elizabeth April, aka Rachel June.
While engaging in tedious internship tasks (folding brochures and stuffing envelopes) we instantly became besties and learned from one another. I’m not sure what she learned from me…but, her artistic vision and career aspirations are so motivational and positive that I couldn’t help but fall in love with life again.
What I’m looking for is not out there, it is in me.-Helen Keller
Born June 8, 1988, Rachel was raised in the heart of Covington, LA where she grew up surrounded by the southern charm of her family and community. She graduated in May 2011 from Southeastern Louisiana University with a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts with a concentration in Sculpture and Photography.After graduation, Rachel moved to New Orleans with hopes to explore her artistic freedom. As a portrait artist, she wanted to capture the true essence and unglorified moments of her subjects… Rachel: When I step foot in the streets of New Orleans, I always to expect to see something new – despite the comfort of preconceived notions about the city. The moment you let yourself go, you see a perfectly wholesome image. This is what I hope to capture. This love of the city isn’t only comprised of visual aspects (architecture and eccentric people)…the true adoration comes from the culture. There’s something magical when everyone around you can sense that special spark in the air and is proud to be apart of it.
Ashley: I could not agree more! Immediately setting foot in New Orleans, I felt a deeply established sense of community. Even though there is a heavy tourist population continuously sweeping the city, it may sound extremely cliche – but love is in the air!So tell me more about your creative process. With a city so flavorful, how do you come about a selection process for what to capture? Rachel: The moment I’m out and about in the French Quarter or on Frenchman Street, I aim to capture the unique. Basic, but true. I capture certain compositions with “outsiders” in mind. I hope to help them realize that this city does not primarily consist of crime, and impoverished youth. The everyday people: artists, hard workers, and street side-goers all have a story to tell and I wish to aid in sharing those experiences. Ashley: If we could all write a memoir – huh? A picture does say more than words in many ways, especially when seen by a variety of people with different backgrounds. You can only generally predict how a certain population will take something. Being a photographer in the city, you are called upon to photograph and report the happenings and news-worthy events. However, how does one make a living out of this career choice? How do you do it chica? Rachel: Good question…I have always decided that being a photographer will never be a job- but a joy and a love. Freelancing and continuously updating my online portfolio has awarded me many opportunities. Recently I have been called to be an official photographer around the city for many of the festivals as well as media sites that report the up to date. To live financially through such a field can be a harsh one. I survive and make ends, but I also choose other ways to make ends meet. Not only am I a photographer but I am an artist. I can produce aids, catalogs and create logos for emerging companies. Possessing a creative eye and an open mind, one can succeed in their goals and strive for that glowing light at the end. In all, my technique, is to always be ready and see the world as others do not, for that is how you can shed light on an entirely different world. Are you feeling the New Orleans spirit? Browse through hundreds of New Orleans themed items on ArtFire.