Veronica Olson is a talented photographer and prop stylist. She graduated from BYU and has a sumptuous Instagram feed. Olson lives in New York City. She was profiled previously on The Krakens for her work as a prop stylist.
Tell us about your journey growing up and becoming a photographer. As a child, I was always into art: drawing, coloring, sewing, crafts. Anything visual and creative. Relatives and teachers complimented me from a young age, and my love for art was reinforced. Later, in high school, as I started thinking about college majors and a future career, I was starting to lose interest in drawing and painting. I had lost its joy, and I could no longer execute what I envisioned. I continued with the advanced classes, because I had for so long identified myself as an artist, but remember feeling like a fraud surrounded by the other students.
I credit my initial interest in photography to my dad. Always a supportive parent, if my brother, sister or I had interest in a hobby, he would not only encourage us, but participate as well. So, looking for another artistic field I may enjoy, he signed us up for a extracurricular photography course, and bought a DSLR. I loved those weekly night classes together, and found a new way to express creativity. Instead of rendering from a blank page, I discovered how to work with what was already there, adding, reducing and changing perspective to determine the content of my frame and tell a story.
When I went to Brigham Young University, I was accepted into the photo program, and over those four years, learned more about technique, process, the industry, and art direction. I created a large portfolio of still life work, planning and styling with exactness. My teachers gave me a hard time for being too narrow in my work, pushing me to branch out of still life, but I’d determined my direction, and I think it helped me get a head start in the industry. (Although I definitely admit I should have been more humble in listening to their critiques and trying new things!) But the industry in New York requires some specialization, and still life is where I thrive.
You once wrote, ‘When I want to make something happen, I determinedly do, with discipline and faith.’ Explain how this applies to your craft. I believe we are all creative, being children of God, the ultimate Creator. Being creative, and especially being creative for a living, requires immense faith. And faith requires action. As a photographer, I want to have faith in Him, trust the worthwhile process of creativity (even with setbacks), and be open to His will. I have a tiny perspective of where I’m at in my career, satisfaction with my work, my ability to create the beauty I want to create – and without hope in Him and surrendering my own will, stubbornness and discouragement really get in the way. I want to be constantly progressing and hopefully becoming more like Christ, and that applies to creativity and career as well.
I must have faith, that with discipline and His grace, I can achieve anything. I’ve seen it many times: when I’ve doubted my own ability to move to New York, take on a big job, work freelance, finish a stalled project, ask for help. The path isn’t always clear, but I determinedly move forward and it works out, and I’m reminded every time to have more faith and confidence. I’m also a big believer in visualization as a form of prayer. I am very grateful for the opportunities in my short career so far, and while I’ve worked hard to meet goals, I totally attribute any success to blessings from Him.
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