On Instagram, photographer TK Anderson‘s byline reads, “Everyone deserves a great story.” She’s right, we do. To entertain that statement, we decided to rattle her cage and get to know what drives her photo-snapping culture a little deeper. TK, aka ‘Teek The Sneak’ had a mixture of creative stimulation on the forefront of her youth, adding a distinctive depth and originality to her work. With a formal education in the fine arts and fashion design — she reinvented the world around her by compulsively sketching, designing and capturing the world around her — she developed her passion toward photography with and honed in on her signature style. Her attraction to the dark and surreal creates a playful yet edgy tension in her capture with definitions from use of light, color and composition; raw but defined. She talks about her meaty photo taking alongside an exclusive “Girl Interrupted” photo feature for LA CANVAS starring Paulina Shafir. It’s meritorious:
LA CANVAS: When was it that you discovered photography? What was your first experience with a camera like?
TARYN ANDERSON: I think I got my first camera when I was about 6. It was that flat rectangle camera, the Kodak 110, that took the weirdest looking film. It was neon pink and it was bad ass. I remember feeling like a superhero with that thing, being able to freeze moments is time was the ultimate superpower. My mom would get mad at me for not socializing, I was always the lurk in the room.
LAC: What was your first experience with a camera like?
TK: I always took pictures for fun but it wasn’t until a few years ago that it had a real impact. I was working on Fairfax Avenue and one of my favorite creative people, Aaron Rose, handed me his Contax TVSIII. That was a critical moment in my journey to becoming a full time photographer.
LAC: Your favorite part of the creative process is?
TK: Connecting. Whether it’s with a posed model or a stranger on the street, that intimate moment of focus and silence is magic. Also connecting with my team, building with other creatives is the most stimulating thing. I have learned a lot from my core team Aban Sonia (stylist) and Mel Abad (make up.) Working with them has been really fulfilling and encouraging, they are both awesome people, super artistic and so talented. I feel very lucky to have built the relationships that I have through my work.
LAC: Photographers you look up to:
TK: Nan Golden, who captured the real moments that were happening around her. Her work is a testament to her openness and fearlessness as a person. Guy Bourdin, who was a perfectionist and would make a model sit for hours if he had to until he got the shot. His work is more like fine art; I pull inspiration from that. Vivian Maier, who was discovered a few days after her death. She shot for herself, capturing the interesting people and things around her. The honesty in her work is refreshing. Even when I stage a shoot I try to expose real, honest emotion. It’s important to me.
LAC: What are you working on currently we can add to our radar?
TK: I’m directing a music video for Stella Santana, daughter of Carlos Santana. We have a lot of fun, we’ll be shooting in Vegas for this one. I also just wrapped up an amazing shoot with singer/songwriter The Golden Hippie, who has been touring with Prince. They are both ones to watch. I have a few fashion campaigns and editorials on the horizon as well. I tend to sway between fashion and music, keeps things interesting.
LAC: Your works include elements of edge mixed with beauty + surrealism. How would you describe your core style of photography?
TK: I would describe my style as raw but refined, very much based on intuition. My experience in fine art has helped mold my style, I feel each photo should be deserving of a frame and wall space.
LAC: How do you learn from obstacles that always come up in shooting?
TK: Obstacles build muscles. I’ve learned to prepare, build the best team and keep things on schedule, but there are so many moving parts. My favorite word these days: ADAPT. Sometimes things happen that could not have been predicted. If I stay focused on the solution, maintain my professionalism and keep the vibes light we usually come out alive. I always say, a photo is only as solid as the energy behind it.
LAC: What are the main ingredients when you are visualizing up a shoot?
TK: If possible I’ll take a few days to let it marinate, and keep the shoot in mind while going about my life. I think about what we are trying to accomplish, and who were are speaking to. I tend to think up a backstory, which gives the project more depth and direction. I’ll talk to my team, see what their ideas are, as it’s often a collaboration. I visualize the color palette and environment. Then I research, which includes stories, films, fashion, different cultures, art, places. This gets the creative vibes flowing. Reference is super important. With social media we are all looking at the same things a lot, so it’s beneficial to find inspiration in new places.
LAC: Where do you see your career in 5 years?
TK: I see myself continuing in photography while expanding even further into directing, perhaps in film as well. I hope to be traveling a ton, grabbing inspiration from around the world.
LAC: Advice you’d give your 10 year ago self?
TK: Trust your instinct. Keep good company. Find the joy in working hard. Focus on what you want and go for it.
Get all up on TK’s Instagram for daily snapshots.]