Interview with young and ambitious: Rachel Baran
I was introduced to Rachels work by chance on Facebook. It was clear her photography was a labor of love and a passion that greatly qualified her as someone I found to be inspiring, and of course, young and ambitious. I am excited to introduce her to those who do not know her work as I am sure it will capture an imagination many have not tapped into before. It is easy to admire someone with such unique vision.
1. Describe what it is that you do.
I guess I do a lot of things, but what I’m ‘known for’ on the internet is conceptual photography, more specifically conceptual self-portraits. I love telling stories–my own and those of others–but I’m unfortunately not so great at talking, so photography has become my way to express ideas to other people, to get them thinking and wondering and feeling.
That’s tricky…so far I guess I’m the most proud of having been able to teach myself everything I know about photography and make so much progress in only a few years. In high school I was denied a place in the photography program at a neighboring school and was so discouraged, but I’m so happy I didn’t let that stop me from continuing to chase my passion. Overcoming things in general I suppose; being bullied can definitely teach you to develop thick skin and a good sense of humor about yourself, and I’m so proud I chose that route instead of letting that break me down. It does get better!
3. What are your ultimate goals?
My main short-term goal is to make it through this semester in one piece! I’m graduating this winter so I’m working on my senior capstone project to graduate with honors, and if I get that done I’ll be so so happy. Photography-wise my goal is to continue improving as much as possible, more specifically honing my photoshopping skills more. My long-term goals are definitely more hazy…I’m hoping to participate in the Peace Corps graduate degree program; at the very least attend grad school for social work and eventually travel. But mainly my goal is to volunteer in as many places and meet and photograph as many different people and situations as possible.
4. When did the passion for photography begin?
My passion for photography began sometime late in high school, when I was still struggling with building myself back up. I started to see all the amazing work by other photographers my age online and decided that I wanted to do that, that I’d do everything in my power to be able to tell my stories in that way.
5. What or who inspires you and your work?
Other photographers and conversations with others tend to inspire me the most. One of the most important things for me is remembering to forget my ‘young person complex’ of feeling like I know everything about everything, and to keep my eyes and mind open to the experiences and views of others. Photography has definitely helped me explore and better understand other people. Music is big for me too; it’s like poetry but more exciting.
6. What keeps you motivated?
I don’t actually know what it is that keeps me taking pictures. I realized sometime last year that there’s absolutely no reason for me to continue with photography–I’m not in school for it, I’m not being paid to do it, and it basically just creates a lot of strain on the other parts of my life by taking so much time–but I also cannot imagine my life without it. Even when I’m so uninspired I get these urges to just go out and shoot something; I think it’s become almost my escape from the everyday.
7. What is your favorite quote?
I have two main ones. The first is from Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan: “A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved,” which I believe wholeheartedly. The second’s an old Latin phrase that translates to “one bee is no bee”–we are the product of everyone who’s touched our lives, and we’d be nothing without them.
8. What are you working on NOW?
RIGHT now I’m not working on anything (oops). I’m pretty much just trying to come up with a concept for another photo, which I sort of have but it’s still really blurry. I’m fielding a lot of emails and messages though, and it’s looking like there’ll be some pretty big things in store for the future so keep a lookout for them!
9. Since allure and cure embraces some guilty pleasure,
What is YOUR guilty pleasure?
Hahahh, hmm…probably choosing to read instead of working on the mounds of homework that I accumulate. And reading dystopian novels when I know I should be reading the classics on my list. And chocolate. Late-70’s/Pulp Fiction John Travolta. Too many to name.
10. What is your favorite way to maintain health and wellness?
I adopted two pretty drastic lifestyle changes when I came to college that I’ve surprised myself by sticking to all this time–to sweat at least once a day everyday, and to cut out as much processed food as possible and eat as naturally as I can. I feel about a hundred times better than I used to. I also just really like walking and hiking; getting out and seeing the world is such good exercise.
For more of Rachel’s work be sure to like her Facebook page.
And find more here.