A for Atarah w/Atarah Atkinson

A for Atarah w/Atarah Atkinson

From small city dreams to living the reality of a "working artist" in the mecca of fashion and trade - New York City; Atarah Atkinson, Photographer and studio owner, has shaped the career of her dreams. We sit with Atarah to get some insight into the art behind her process. Why she believes optimism is key to success in this business and what she hopes to achieve next.



DOE: Where are you from originally?

ATARAH: I grew up in the giant redwood trees, scattered along the coast of Northern California, in a small town veiled by fog and rain. Humboldt County is extremely small, and made up of tiny nook and cranny like-towns scattered around the top of California, all connected by a highway that has a max speed of 55 mph. I was raised there by my mother, with a sister and two older brothers. We were taught open communication and unconditional love. My mother was the foundation of the family, and always a steadfast support to me. It was the photographs from my childhood, the images taken by mother, that made me fall in love with photography forever.

D: Give us a brief description of your career trajectory – professionally trained or
not, opportunities that led to breakthroughs.

A: Growing up I was always drawn towards photography. In high school I was constantly taking photos of my friends and family, odd things around town, or doing self-portraits whenever I could. After high school, I putted around for a few years, working odd jobs. In 2011, with the support of my family and friends, I decided pursue photography in a serious way, and moved to Santa Barbara, CA to attend The Brooks Institute for professional photography. Upon graduating in 2014, I started plans to move to NYC. Locking down an internship with Mark Seliger.  I made the move and started networking as much as I could. Since then I’ve worked for all sorts of photographers, may it be photo assisting, production coordinating, digi-teching, or retouching, but primarily, I shoot for my own clients, as well as co-own a small
studio in Brooklyn called
The Atrium.

D: What makes you tick as an individual on set and how do the people you work with
sort of contribute to that?

A: I’d definitely consider myself an optimist, as I try to keep a positive perspective on and off set. So, my shooting style is defiantly more upbeat energy, filtered through with serious moments of emotional complexity. I try to interact with everyone on set, especially those who are part of the production more seriously like the stylist, MUA /hair, and model, in a more personal way: Asking them how they are, what’s new in their life, how they are feeling about the shoot, what is inspiring them, how can we bring that out and work with it, etc. I feed off of other people’s energy in a way, and so it works best when people are in good moods and able to be interactive with me on set. I like to make it feel as collaborative as possible, pulling all the creative energy together and pushing it towards the common goal of creating unique imagery.

D: Who’s work inspires you to push the envelope creatively and why?

A: Tim Walker. He has been my biggest source of inspiration. He creates worlds, tells
novel-like stories with a single image. And fills my mind with possibilities.

D: What do you feel ties you in personally to your work?

A: Whenever I create an editorial, or a personal project, it’s 100% a filter of some feeling, vision, ideal, or thought that I’ve had on a personal level. In other words, I draw my
inspiration of concepts directly from my own psyche, and or relevant emotional state at the time. My personal work has a direct relation to how I feel about or see the world around me, and  [are] expressions of a personal opinions, thoughts, and feelings.


More Atarah Atkinson


Atarah Atkinson All Rights reserved. Originally published on March 26th, 2019 | Archives