Hello love! Tell us a little about yourself.
Hey there! My name is Esther Lee and I go back and forth between Seattle and Los Angeles. I'm a visionary and like to bring my own perception of people, things, and places together to bring emotion and beauty into reality. I capture products and make them into a visual story for marketing as my job.
When did your creative passion for photography begin for you?
I’ve always had a passion for art but discovered a new interest in photography during college. My dad used to collect photographs when I was younger so it was very nostalgic for me. Photography was a creative way for me to express my emotions. I enjoyed collecting images of life events and my hobbies. I developed my personal style after 2 years and realized I wanted to bring joy out of photos in a minimal way. I learned that photography as a business and as a hobby is completely different. When I started photography as a career, I learned that 70% of doing business was about emails and paperwork. The rest was about the actual art. There’s a lot of communication involved because clients sometimes just want the work done and need to follow their rules. When I’m not working I collaborate with other artists to express my own creative thoughts. I think we can make our passion our full time profession but there will be uncontrollable elements. We can’t control what we’re given but we can control what we can do during our off time. The work environment for me is quite intimidating even after 10 years because every shoot is different. I am using the same tools but the brands rely on the ideas and creativity I bring to the project. While often stressful, I like to be challenged.
Now that I think about it, it’s a personal longing for the way things used to be when I was a child, a way to recreate those emotions and experiences I had.
From where do you find the most inspiration?
I grew up spending so much time in my own head. I’m always drawing things out that don’t make sense. 90% of the time, I forget about it but what helps me remember is paying attention to everything I encounter whether it’s in my room, traveling, or being with people. I don’t think you always need to find inspiration to create. If you want to make art, you should let the inspiration come to you.
You're also a lover of ethical vintage apparel, how did this come about for you?
I’m always looking for interesting and unique pieces that aren’t too costly. I think it gives a fresh approach towards styling. I started thrift/vintage shopping around 2009. I was a broke college student and didn’t have the luxury to buy new clothes all the time. I went around thrift stores to find styles that I can recreate. It was just something I had to do at first but I actually started enjoying the process of finding unique pieces! Why let some of these beautiful old pieces end up in the trash? We can also support our local vintage shops as well! I developed my love for clothing and styling because of thrifting so I brought photography and fashion together.
When not dreaming up your next amazing capture on camera, what do you do for yourself in the form of self-care?
Honestly, I don’t do too much. I just need good sleep and a 3-step skincare routine. I also like taking walks around my neighborhood. It helps me clear my mind.
How has the worldwide crisis that we're all experiencing now, affected you personally?
I am so bummed that I can’t see my family and friends. I’ve been going through an emotional roller coaster. The biggest hit for me was losing all of my jobs. I like to tell myself that everything is going to be okay but in reality it sucks! I haven’t been doing well but that’s okay too. There are many more things out there to be concerned about and I know we’re all going through this together.
And how do you manage to remain positive at this time?
I catch up with friends and family members through FaceTime or Zoom, play games online and pray everyday for this to end soon.
What do you believe is your 'Soul Purpose' & what advice would you give another who may be "testing the waters" in pursuing their own dream?
I believe my soul purpose is to bring calmness and peace to people through my photos. I hope that my photo can make someone smile on a rough day. One piece of advice I can offer is that you can start by writing a list of your talents and strengths that give you life and excitement. They don’t have to be natural strengths but something you’ve built during challenging moments as well. It’s okay to find your weakness during these trials because you develop a better sense of yourself. With that in mind, think about your purpose, the why’s and how’s. Nothing comes quickly. It’ll take time and effort.
Follow Esther Lee on Instagram! @eslee
SHOP WHAT'S CURRENTLY IN ESTHER LEE’S COLLECTION:
Golden Beige 3W Jojoba Base
Extraordinary Flat Top Brush
Affection Tinted Lip Balm
Mango + Papaya Cuticle Oil
InstaNatural's Anti-Aging Collagen Serum
Even Keel's French Rose Elixir