Friday, December 2, 2011

Interview with Cocoa L.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi there! My name is Cocoa, I'm from Huntsville, AL, and I'm a 17-year-old photographer. I read a lot of books, doodle, and sometimes do theatre, but mostly I just take pictures of stuff.

How did you first get interested in art and photography? 
To tell the truth, I honestly just fell into photography. However, I've been doing "artsy" stuff all my life as I'm very right-brained. When I was very little I drew a lot, and I also have a bunch of community theatre experience (which I still do in high school), and that's great because it helps me entertain the young kids and keep them focused. As for photography, though, I started off playing around with my mom's point-and-shoot and taking photos of my backyard and pets and whatnot. I remember I used to take her old Kodak around the Target shopping center and take photos of everything just for the heck of it, but eventually I realized that I wanted to learn more about photography and get more serious about it. I think things just kind of went from there.

Most people would consider you very young to be so skilled and talented, is there something you did or something that happened that you think helped this process?  
Practice, practice, and more practice! I carry my camera just about everywhere and try to take photos, whether it be for clients or just for me, at least once a week. I also spend a lot of time reading photography books, magazines, and online things. For the most part I'm self-taught.

How did you decide to start a business?
There was never really a conscious decision, to be completely honest. People started asking me to photos and so I eventually I made a website, got business cards, and before I knew it I was getting tons of job offers. It's kind of funny how that stuff works- I never really meant to become this involved, but I love it more than anything and I want portrait photography to be my career.

What would you say to other artists who are trying to get a start?
Again, the most important thing is to practice lots! Also make sure to listen to constructive criticism, but don't let rude people discourage you. I was told on a forum when I was just starting out that my work was garbage, which upset me a lot, but I eventually learned not to let that kind of negativity get to me. If you love it, keep doing it. It's as simple as that.

What is your favorite thing in the entire world? 
I have lots of favorite things- my camera, my hedgehog Finnegan, wintertime, good books, stormy days... I could go on and on. I think it's safe to say that I really enjoy life in general.

Do you have a favorite photograph (your's or someone else's)? What is it and why?
For some reason I always get this question, but I can never really think up a decent answer. I tend to favor the recent stuff when it comes to my own photography. Normally I'm particularly fond of whatever's on the front page of my website, and that changes a lot. As for other people's work, well, I don't know! I look at so much photography that I really don't have an all-time favorite image. Tough question!

Last but not least, where can we find you and your art?
My website is, and if you live in the Huntsville area, you should definitely check it out! I shoot everything- children, families, seniors, engagements, weddings, you name it. I also have a blog, which you can find at I should also mention that I'm working on getting a studio at Lowe Mill alongside the fabulous Kayla Byrge of Fig Tree Jewelry (, which should be exciting. Lastly, if you want to become a fan, I have a Facebook page: Voila!

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