One of the Babes: Stef Atkinson
Do you love our dreamy #bossbabesATX meet portraits and the photos in our #sizecelebration series?
Meet Stef Atkinson, the photographer (who triple-threats as a designer and brand consultant, too!) behind it all. We love Stef's creative work and are equally stunned by her professional resume. Stef has worked for several non-profits as a designer and brand consultant in Nashville, Tennessee and Austin, Texas—curating everything from email design to print design and production. She has most recently worked as Design Manager at the fair-trade fashion company Raven + Lily. Right now, she's a freelance photog, Production Apprentice at Canoe and the Content Production Manager for Raw Paw's PLOG.
Q: What inspired you to start working in photography/design?
A: Starting photography and design wasn’t a life-long dream or anything I set out to do. Like many good things, my interest in photography and design unfolded naturally. I have always loved and excelled at art from a young age. In high school I took a “computer art” class where I learned some basic photoshop skills, which sparked my interest in photography and design. After my first year of business school, I was missing my art classes so I started minoring in design. In college, I would take portraits of my friends with a tiny point-and-shoot camera, and soon enough people started wanting to pay me to take their photograph. Now, I find my inspiration for my photography in the people I photograph and the message and experience the photograph has to offer.
Q: Do you have any tidbits of advice for people with passions, in general?
A: Sometimes, you will hear this little voice in your head, and it will have a lot of negative things to say. Don’t listen to that voice; it’s a bitch. It’s so easy to be hard on oneself and have grace for everyone but yourself. Save a little bit of that for you and surround yourself with people that encourage and inspire you. You are good enough. I am good enough. Also, try not to make decisions out of fear. It’s easy to get caught up in all the “what ifs,” until you are nothing but a ball of anxiety. Don’t let the the fear make decisions for you.
Q: What have been your favorite moments of creativity?
A: My favorite moments of creativity often happen when I am learning something new, whether it be soldering jewelry or discovering a new printmaking technique. I’m an obsessive compulsive autodidact. I also love collaborating with other creatives on projects—the beautiful minds of people just makes my own head spin with ideas and excitement.
Q: What have been your most challenging moments in your career, thus far?
A: Moving to a new city (Austin) and starting over has been very challenging, and it still is! It’s taken time to find my people and community, and thanks to groups like #bossbabesATX, that circle is ever-expanding, and I’m so grateful for that. Back in Nashville I had my own business, friends I had known for a long time, and people that knew my work. Now I am learning to create a new name for myself. But it’s also really great because I get to start over in a brand-new way to create art and images that I feel more connected to. This is just the beginning, really.
Q: What's your day job (if this business isn't your day job)?
A: I recently started as an apprentice with the amazing company Canoe Austin! This year, I’ve also started taking photographs again. I stopped doing this for a little over a year because it stopped being something I enjoyed—so now I am finding a new love in something that has been a part of me for so long. I am also Content Manager of a blog, called PLOG. I am working on a new photography project called “Aliens of Austin” which is a photo and interview series (curated by #bossbabesATX founder, J) for PLOG featuring awesome people in our community. And after having a lovely summer learning to make jewelry and getting a new house, I am now looking for work in the product/graphic design/fashion industry and photo shoot collaborations. Holler.
Q: When you're discouraged, what do you run to or away from?
A: I run to red wine, friends and family and epsom salt baths where I can drown my sorrows by blasting 80s music. I’m usually running from myself. I can get a little lost in my head sometimes.
Your favorite band at the moment: Big Black Delta is one of the best bands I’ve heard in a while. I’ve also been revisiting a lot of 90s dance music lately. #whatislove
Your favorite book at the moment: “Heads or Tails” by Lilli Carré is a beautiful graphic novel I recently purchased. You can find it at Farewell Books!
Your local Austin gem: Wright Bros Brew & Brew, Texas Thrift, Austin Karaoke, and of course, P.Terry’s.