Meet Andrea Hurley of My Sweet Reveries!
I've loved photography since I can remember and even carried a photo album in my very first purse! My journey into photography really began though 14 years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer at age 20. My prognosis was excellent (it was only stage one cancer that simply required surgery - no chemo or radiation was needed) but I was considered high risk for recurrence. I was already a mommy to a 14 month old baby boy at this time and the realization of how precious life and our time on Earth is overwhelmed me. I began to photograph every moment of my son's life I could to attempt to preserve every memory that I could of him.
As the years passed and I became interested in scrapbooks, I taught myself to edit and even to design my own digital papers, etc. to improve my craft. Eventually I realized that my favorite thing to do was to photograph not only people but nature and still life subjects. Photography had become my passion. I wanted to further improve my skills so I began to research equipment and technical information. With lots of studying and practicing I gradually taught myself to use a camera properly hoping I could someday turn my love into a career. I opened my print shop almost two years ago and have loved every minute of it.
When you’re not photographing lovelies, what else fills your time?
My work day is filled with balancing editing, designing, working on my Etsy shops, fulfilling orders and networking. While I'm doing all of that from my home corner office or my laptop on the couch, I'm also busy being a homemaker: I'm a married mom of two boys ages 3 and 15 so I spend most of my time entertaining the toddler, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry.
I'm terrible at managing my time and there is always a list of things that are unfinished. On the rare occasion that I'm not working or doing chores, you might find me participating in a dance aerobics class, reading or painting abstracts. (Usually I'm just wasting time on Pinterest, though!)
How would you describe your creative process?
I'm completely and constantly inspired by everything around me. In fact, I am easily distracted by the beauty of a scene and envisioning how I would like to capture it. I photograph something everyday and I often lose track of time when I'm inspired to go shoot. When my family notices me missing, they know I'm somewhere nearby wandering around with my camera.
The photos I take usually sit for a week or two before I find time to upload them. Sometimes I edit a few of my favorites and add them to my shop immediately but 90% of the time my editing is months behind. When I feel inspired to edit I peruse my huge stock of waiting photos and whatever catches my eye is what I work on that day. I recently created several prints from photos that I took while on my honeymoon over 4 years ago!
How would you say your style has evolved over time?
My style has evolved so much over the last two years since I began shooting professionally. In the beginning I was primarily interested in textured imagery and much of the work I completed was pastel toned. I was inspired by those things but I think that primarily I was trying to produce what I believed everyone wanted or thought I should do.
As I've grown as an artist and improved as a photographer I've gained the confidence to show more of who I am and express other moods than what I call the 'cotton candy' side of myself. I also love minimalism and really dramatic or moody themes. A lot of the inspiration to try to be more myself artistically came from a friend and local Kentucky mixed media artist, Donna Williams. She doesn't shy away from illustrating darker moods in her pieces and I admired her for that so I challenged myself to begin digging deeper with my own art.
Tell us about your camera and favorite lenses.
Many people are surprised to hear that I'm a Sony girl. I currently shoot with a 65v which I love. I am looking to upgrade to a full frame camera soon but will stick with Sony. My favorite lenses to use are my Sony 85mm, Lensbaby Edge 80 and a 30mm Sony macro.
Where else can we find your work besides your Etsy shop?
1. Study. Practice. Repeat. You need to know your equipment inside and out and you can never practice too much.
2. Shoot what you love. If you don't you are far less likely to succeed.
3. Know and invest in good lenses.
4. The most important thing you can ever do for yourself is to be original. I can't stress that one enough.
Any new photographic projects on the horizon?
I'm currently working on several projects revolving around the action and texture sets I will be releasing for sale in 2014. I'm working on releasing my abstract work which until now I have kept entirely to myself and I would like to explore more fine art portraiture and food photography next year.
Who are your favorite inspiring photographers?
I have many favorite photographers! Early on I was greatly inspired by several wonderful people and fine artists I discovered on Flickr such as Lisa Epp, Sarah Gardner and Silvia Otten-Nattkamp. I also really admire the work of Irene Suchocki, Laura Evans and Susan Fox.