Carianne Older Captures Powerful Portraits Of Women
Photographer Carianne Older, who’s captured the likes of SZA, Kali Uchis, Olivia Rodrigo, and Olivia O’Brien, fearlessly lives life through the lens of liberating women of all body types and accentuating the female figure.
Captivating shots and films are heavily influenced by Carianne’s, familiarly known as Peggy Shoots Film, love for vintage and the alluring look of subjects on film. She cites her BA in Arts Administration and Production Management from Marymount Manhattan College as the foundation of her creativity in the arts. Furthermore, prior to becoming a self-taught photographer, Peggy worked with one of the biggest talent agencies in the entertainment industry during her time living in New York City. Now, based in Los Angeles, she’s amongst one of the most sought-after photographers documenting the ever-changing landscapes of culture, life, and femininity.
From positive propaganda for diversity and reevaluation of women’s beauty, exploring powerful parts of artistic expression, and documenting the contemporary trend of pop culture, Older distills an empowering sense of community among the women that she captures. “I want to see more women who aren’t afraid to go after what they want,” she emphasizes. “I wanna see these ladies going out there and putting their best foot forward to achieve their goals and dreams of working a job they love.”
In our latest interview installment, Carianna Older chats with us about gravitating towards the female figure, shooting Rebecca Black and Slayyyter’s “Read My Mind,” and collaborating with Playboy amongst other topics. Below, the photographer tells us more.
Many of your works are shot using film, are there any particular reasons for this, and what uniqueness do you think it brings?
I started shooting on film way back when and really stuck with it! I think it makes me unique because if you hire me, it’s because you want to be shot on film. Growing up, I was obsessed with film and the way it looked.
Through looking at your portfolio, there’s a big focus on femininity and the female figure. What gravitates you towards that being the main theme of your work, and how are the two often translated in different ways depending on your subjects?
I would say the main theme of my work is actually femininity. I am a girls girl. I shoot men of course too, but my photos of guys have a softness to them, I love how film adds a soft touch to most of my work, I think it keeps it all cohesive no matter who or what I am photographing.
When you’re choosing your subjects, whether it be a more intimate project or editorial, what draws you to a particular person?
Uniqueness! I will shoot with anyone, but I always like the people I personally seek out to photograph to have something unique and special about them.
I loved your photos of SZA for her Cadillac campaign, how would you describe the atmosphere around someone celebrated as often as her?
Thank you! That was an awesome day, she was a delight. It was so special to shoot SZA. I have listened to her music for years, I’ve seen her live, being in her presence and taking her photo was so so special.
Elsewhere, you contributed to one of last year’s Internet-breaking moments—Rebecca Black and Slayyyter’s “Read My Mind” cover art. How did that collaboration come together and what was your experience being a part of a moment like that?
Rebecca is a client of mine for a handful of years now, we’ve worked on some really iconic shoots together. She had me come on to their 2-day video shoot to do stills and single art. Easily one of my favorite projects from last year. Rebecca and Slayyyter are both such a joy to be around and to create with!
In regards to celebrities and musicians, many people have presumptions about them that can sometimes be incorrect. Is there anything misunderstood about these archetypes that you often recognize while working with them?
I have shot some of my all-time favorite artists who I listen to, and I am always nervous before and then I get there and remember, oh wait, these people are normal people just like me! It’s crazy to really love someone’s songs and then laugh at a meme with them or something silly like that.
With that being said, how much do you want to know about your subjects and how much do you want to leave as a mystery even to yourself?
I know a lot of the people I shoot really well actually. I have a lot of clients I work with super often and we become friends over time, which is so special. When you are a new client of mine, I always try to take time before we start shooting to ask them some questions about themselves, to help them warm up to me and vice versa. The photos are always better once you get comfortable around the person!
Playboy, who you’ve collaborated with plenty of times and cited as being among your favorites, celebrated you for reimagining their iconic Playboy bunny. How do full-circle moments like that typically shape or change the way you view your work?
I have a lot of full-circle moments in my work, Playboy being one of them. I really manifest a lot of my jobs to the point that they fall into my lap. I will not shut up about shooting someone until it happens—I really put stuff out into the universe in hopes of the universe delivering it to me.
What do you feel have been the biggest barriers you’ve had to overcome with regards to your photography?
As a woman working in a male-dominated industry, as much as I feel it doesn’t necessarily stand in my way, sometimes it does. Women are coming out of the woodwork, in all industries, to boss up. Almost every boss I ever had was a man. Being my own boss, running my own company at a young age, has really taught me that I don’t have to work for a man to be successful and neither do any of you!
Furthermore, you’ve channeled your experience in the field as one of the most sought-after photographers into your one-on-one mentorship program. What do you hope to spark in the next generation of women in photography?
I want to see more women who aren’t afraid to go after what they want. Whether it’s a career in photography, producing, or production assisting. I wanna see these ladies going out there and putting their best foot forward to achieve their goals and dreams of working a job they love.
You’ve influenced a lot of young photographers and creative directors, especially through social media. Does that put a lot of pressure on you as an artist?
Of course, it does! I always strive to put my best foot forward and be a role model for those who love my work and feel inspired by me. I just started mentoring people and it has been a really special experience. I have worked in the industry for a while and it’s really cool to help others learn and to help inspire them to put themselves out there.
In other photography news, Kirsten Barnett explores fantasy and nostalgia through photography.