If you had to pick a city to discover photography in while carrying your grandma’s old Nikon, I’m guessing New York City would be a contender, right?! Meet Shoestring Adventures Triptographer and Social Media Manager Lindsey Shea who did just that! Lindsey moved out east after college with just two suitcases and her grandma’s Nikon FM 35mm film camera! Although she got her start as a photographer in a massive city, she eventually moved back to California and learned to appreciate the lack of buildings and open spaces.
My photography has both greatly evolved and stayed consistent since then: I am drawn to barren, desolate landscapes.
She’s always on the look out for beauty within decay and most recently has enjoyed photographing people in front of barren landscapes. We’re excited to have her on the team as a Triptographer! Keep reading to learn more about Lindsey and her goal of producing magical images and be sure to check out her website and Instagram.
Photographer, social media manager, coffee person
What are your passions outside of work?
Road trips, camping, art, live music, surfing, mac n cheese, coffee, my lovely friends who make it all possible.
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up in the beach town of Encinitas, CA, living the Southern California surfer dream. After college in Los Angeles I moved to New York on a whim, taking just two suitcases and my grandma’s old Nikon FM film camera, which I didn’t know how to use. I spent the next year wandering around the city with my camera in hand, and haven’t really put it down since. I moved back to California and was surprised by the lack of buildings and all the open spaces. So I started shooting landscapes: open, barren, deserted landscapes, both urban and nature. I was so drawn to this new version of LA that I hadn’t perceived before: it was as if I was living in an undeveloped 1970s LA. My photographs began to take on that tone. I have now called Oakland home for the past four years, and just bought my first digital camera and started shooting professionally a year ago! I am still drawn to the same sort of quality in my photographs: something unseen, untold; the ability to capture something that isn’t necessarily there, but is part of your perception of a place.
What are you most looking forward to as you embark on your journey as a Triptographer for Shoestring Adventures?
Meeting rad folks and experiencing the outdoors through new eyes (theirs). Being able to capture a trip for someone new to backpacking. The challenge of backpacking at altitude while shooting. Should I start training now?
How would you describe your level of camping experience?
High-intermediate? Fully self-taught, figure it out as you go, with no actionable skills. But also fully capable of doing a five day backpacking trip with a couple of friends and no major issues. I first went backpacking on spring break in college, somehow skipping the whole car camping experience, and slowly got more and more into it throughout my twenties. There was a lot of borrowing of gear at the beginning, as well as a steep learning curve (we once forgot to bring headlamps or light of any kind on a trip in November, when the sun sets quite early—oops). I only backpacked with my boyfriend at the time for my formative camping years, so when he and I split I reclaimed camping as a solo experience and went car camping for the first time—alone! I now do most of my backpacking with my beloved female friends, and am hoping to brave a solo backpacking trip soon.
Funniest outdoor experience or mishap while solo backpacking?
I haven’t actually backpacked alone yet! But, so many mishaps while camping solo…
I have gotten rained on…a lot. End up just sitting in my tent or cooking in the trunk of my car. Being unable to start a fire because everything is wet. Stress-eating teddy grahams while driving around a national forest unsuccessfully looking for a campsite as the sun is setting. Accidentally dropping my entire pot of mac n cheese into a fire pit while trying to drain the water and making ramen-noodles with the cheese packet instead. Pulling up to a campsite I had reserved after a week of completely solitary, BLM camping without seeing another human, only to find it on a large grounds with cabins, lots of people, wifi, a hot tub, and a rock climbing course. Having my tent blow away as I was taking self portraits. Camping solo usually during the winter months and having the sun set on me so so early with nothing to do after. Consistently having a hard time starting a fire in one way or another. Forgetting my stove completely and eating salami for dinner.
When did you first discover your love for photography?
I started shooting film. I first picked up a camera in 2010—I was jealous that my younger brother had snatched my parents’ old film camera, so naturally I had to do the same. I reached out to Grandma and was able to snag her Nikon FM 35mm film camera, which I promptly packed into my one of two suitcases and took with me on a whim move across the country to New York. I spent that winter with my camera always in hand, shooting a city that inspired me at every turn. I haven’t really put it down since. My photography has both greatly evolved and stayed consistent since then: I am drawn to barren, desolate landscapes.
I look for beauty within decay and the inhospitable, and try to produce images with eerie, supernatural, difficult-to-define magical qualities.
People, animals, landscapes, inanimate objects, which do you prefer to shoot and why?
Historically I have shot only landscapes: both nature and urban, with the common factor being a desolate, decaying, borderline inhospitable quality. I do love shooting coffee (I have worked in the coffee industry for seven years, a few of which have been spent managing social media accounts for coffee companies!), but more and more I am being drawn to people. People in front of a barren landscape, of course.
I am starting to pull away from the empty, deserted feeling of a person-less landscape, and am more interested in showing a person adventuring in that landscape.
Because a lot of my outdoors experiences are solo, often the person inserted into the landscape is me!
Which photographers or artists inspire you the most?
Molly Steele. Maddy Minnis. Kristen Blanton. Chiara Zonca. Gideon Tsang.
Women (and one dude) on the road or in the outdoors unapologetically doing their own thing. Photographs that capture the outdoors in a quiet, magical way. Film.
Where was your most favorite photo assignment and why did you enjoy it so much?
Do self-given assignments count? Last year when my roommates moved out, taking all their furniture with them, I came home to an empty living room with a single blue armchair in the corner. It was disarming after having had a cozy, furnished living room just a day ago, but the SECOND thing I saw when I walked in was the photograph potential. Over the next two weeks, before new roomies moved in, I had people over every day before and after work to take their portrait in this blue armchair. What I originally envisioned as people simply sitting in a chair in an empty room having their portrait taken quickly evolved—people got upside down, hid behind the chair, picked it up, danced near it. It became a favorite project to date.
What advice do you have for aspiring outdoor photographers?
I’m not sure! If you have any can you pass it along to me?
Where’s your next adventure?
I don’t have a specific outdoors trip planned, but do have a block of time carved out in March to find some snow. Maybe Kings Canyon National Park? I’m also headed to Portland, OR soon, then going on a mini California tour shooting a friends’ band!
The perfect s’more? (if you don’t like s’mores, what’s your favorite campfire dessert?)
Any s’more roasted outside is perfect to me!
Photos © 2018 Lindsey Shea