Meet my intern, Amelia

Posted on 18 March 2010

I count my lucky stars that Amelia Louise Sellers knocked on my door one fateful day, asking for an apprenticeship. An aspiring photographer, Amelia has the brains to match her remarkable beauty. She’s part Bond girl, part babysitter next door, part rocket scientist, and she’s always willing to go beyond the call of duty on my photo shoots. She’s oiled up my models, showered with one (true story), chucked buckets and buckets of water, shlepped tons of lighting gear, and endured many hardships and shenanigans on my behalf. I am grateful for her dedication and unflinching loyalty, and delighted by her company. There aren’t a lot of women in this world that can make snort-laughing seem totally charming and sexy. She is one of the rare few.

And though she’s not the first intern to pose in front of my camera, Amelia is the first one to do it naked. On my bed. Very tastefully, I might add.

This particular photo session earned her the title “Skintern” proving that she clearly deserves her spot in the hall of fame of my legendary interns, which includes Hot Pirate Kris and the almost mythical Señor Intern Fantastico. She’s just embarked on a 6 month journey to Italy, so I got a quick interview in before she hopped on a plane.

Be sure to bookmark Amelia’s Flickr photo stream, as she’s definitely one to watch.

/// INTERVIEW WITH MY INTERN: Amelia Sellers ///

My intern Amelia

- What is it about photography as a medium that appeals to you?

This question is making my brain explode. It is truly so many things. It’s nostalgia, it’s a connection, it’s aesthetic, it’s sentimental, it’s raw, it’s emotional, it’s ephemeral, it’s truth.

I know that sounds super cheesy but it’s true. I think photography is special because it’s a way to capture art that already exists. It’s raw and quick. That appeals to me.  I’m also a very nostalgic and sentimental person by nature. I always want to remember a moment, a face, a feeling, etc. Photographs are the closest thing to achieving that. When I was little, I wished we could to take pictures with our brains and print them out of our mouths or something. As I got older, I realized that memories are pictures we take with our brains, but we forget. I’ve also always been obsessed with my mother’s photo albums. Now that I own them, they are some of my most prized possessions. And even though the photos aren’t my memories, they are documents of her life and I think that is invaluable. Photos serve as mementos that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to have. It’s also a very emotionally connected medium; if it’s making me feel something, I want to take a picture of it.

- What do you love to take pictures of the most?

People. Friends, strangers, old people, children, whatever. People as subjects rule. People always have stories to tell. 

Less specifically, I like to photograph whatever is happening around me. Slice of life stuff. Living in an urban environment is very inspiring.

My intern Amelia

- What do you aspire to do with photography?

I aspire to be a better photographer! I aspire to take more photos. Lots and lots more photos, and to hopefully show them to the world. If I could make money from photography, that would be great. If not, oh well. I can’t see myself ever going down a commercial road, which I think closes me off to a lot of financial opportunity, but who knows. 

- What are some of your favorite cameras?

1. Nikon D70: it’s my everyday camera. I also inherited it from one of my favorite photographers so I think it has lots of good karma in it.
2. Holga 120CFN: the camera with no frills is the perfect camera for me. And even though it’s so simple to use, I’ve managed to produce many happy accidents.
3. Yashica T4: the perfect point and shoot. Very crisp. The “mode” button is broken on mine, and I can’t get the date off, so all my photos say they were taken in ’87

- Well I can attest that ’87 was a pretty awesome year, so it must be a good omen. Who are some of your favorite photographers?

There are the obvious masters that I admire like Edward Weston, Irving Penn, Robert Frank, and Diane Arbus. I recently discovered Nan Goldin’s work and it absolutely floored me. There’s also a local L.A. photographer named Cali DeWitt that I really look up to in a strange way. A friend turned me on to his blog a few years ago and I check up on it every couple weeks. I feel like a voyeur because all of his photos are really personal day to day stuff. He’s just constantly documenting his life and it inspires me to do the same. Oh, and Love Ablan, duh.

My intern Amelia

- Bahhh, you flatter me! How does it feel, having modeled for me for these photos? Was it weird in general, or did you find it easier working with a female photographer? From my perspective, I personally don’t believe that photographing women (or men) in any state of undress is objectifying, unless it’s done with that specific intent in mind. On the contrary, I consider it a kind of act of worship and reverence.

Working with you has always been fun, so modeling for you was no different. There’s a lot of trust there and I think that makes all the difference. And, sure, there are definitely ways to photograph women that are objectifying but I also think that in the end, it’s all subjective. Luckily, I was working with a photographer who has great taste, so that thought never crossed my mind. It was a great experience to open up. Sort of, freeing in a way. Being on the other side of the camera also gave me a greater perspective as a photographer. It was a win win all around.

- Definitely a win for me! Our photo shoot started out so innocently. The next thing I knew, we were listening to Marvin Gaye and you were smoking cloves and drinking champagne in my bed, wearing my shirt. And we got some fantastic pictures out of it! I think you’re a natural both behind and in front of a camera. Any plans to model again?

Aw, thanks Love! No, no plans, but who knows? Maybe. I’m open.

My intern Amelia

- So you’re leaving for Italy for 6 months! What are your plans in Europe? 

I’m gonna boss around some kids, teach them English, drink lots of wine, eat lots of pasta, work on my tan, let my hair grow long, and geek out on some ridiculous art.

- Sounds glorious! Though you will be greatly missed here in L.A. Do you promise to write me letters with excessive use of the words “ciao” and “bellisimo“?

Yes, of course. We’ll see if you can decipher my broken Italian.

- And now, the last question. Name one person (historical or fictional) that you would like to serve you breakfast-in-bed on a Sunday morning.

My mom.

- Thank you for taking the time to do this interview and for letting me photograph you. I hope you have wonderful, cathartic adventures in Italy. And I hope we get a chance to hang out in Spain in the fall and burn pianos on the beach, or something crazy like that. I can’t wait to see all of your travel photos. Ciao bella!

Ciao Ciao, Amore!

My intern Amelia

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