Selena Freeman is a young talented photographer with a passion for telling stories through pictures. Based in Atlanta, she seeks to explore the concept of human emotions and how they interact with the environments surrounding them. Influenced by traces of nostalgia, both emotion and composition are often evident in her eye-capturing work.
After taking a photography class in high school, Selena discovered her love for photographs and expressing herself through them. The first camera she ever used was a Nikon, and fast forward some years later, she was recognized by the major brand as a photographer to watch. “That was a big moment for me because I’ve been shooting for six years now and the first camera gifted to me was a Nikon,” Selena shares.
For our latest Behind The Lens segment, we got to chat with Selena Freeman about getting sponsored by Nikon, advice for young photographers, and getting over creative blocks. Read below.
Walk me through the moments leading up to you falling in love with film and photography?
Honestly, I took a class when I was in high school and we learned how to make pinhole cameras and learned how to develop films. I was really good at it, there were people in my class who thought it was wack, but I thought it was cool. Finding a way to express myself through that was like wow!
What are some things that you know now that you wish you would’ve known back then?
Honestly, for me, I didn’t go to school but at the same time, I’m glad I didn’t because a lot of people are self-taught. I feel like I missed out on the networking opportunities that college brings and Atlanta can be very cliquish. People end up meeting me through Instagram or being a friend of a friend, so a lot of times I feel like I’m on the outside looking in.
How do you typically get over creative blocks and where or who do look to for inspiration?
For the most part, I find inspiration in almost anything. Maybe music, I’ll maybe go for a walk. When I first started out, I would get on a train and get off at different spots for two-three hours and find a lot of cool spots. When I got into photography, I started incorporating the scenery with the models and it made me stand out because a lot of people don’t know the spots that I know.
Not too long ago, you actually got sponsored by Nikon—how did that come about?
I checked my e-mail one day and the subject of the email was “Nikon Loves Your Work!” I was like, wait a minute, this can’t be real. I sent it to my mom and she confirmed that the people were real. I was like “what, Nikon loves my work!” That was a big moment for me because I’ve been shooting for six years now and the first camera gifted to me was a Nikon. I would always tag them and it finally paid off; they sent me a camera and posted me on their page.
Is there anything about photography that maybe get’s overlook or unappreciated in your opinion?
I want to say composition. A lot of photography nowadays, it’s changed, there’s fewer rules to what makes it a photograph. I feel like composition can get lost, and that’s what makes it a good photograph. Deleting lines, the contrast, how they frame the subject; all of that is important.
If you had the ability to shoot with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Ari Lennox, I’ve been listening to her a lot lately. Maybe Syd from the Internet, she’s pretty cool. I feel like Ari is overlooked and that’s somebody that I’d want to highlight.
What advice would give to young photographers in regards to standing out from their peers?
Find inspiration within yourself, definitely. I feel like doing other creative things besides photography can help you as well. I used to do pottery, draw, and you can easily get inspired by the smallest things. People always look at what the next person is doing, but not necessarily looking at what they can do.
If you enjoyed our interview with Selena Freeman, check out our conversation with Harrison Cosby!