Photographer. Writer. Engineer. World Traveler. // Capturing the celebration of daily life, all around the world
Amy Harris is a photographer, writer, and engineer who resides near Cincinnati, Ohio and New Orleans, LA. She has been lucky enough to travel the world for the past 20 years flying over 2 million miles visiting over 40 countries on 6 continents. She has taken photos that capture the time and spirit of the places along the way. People are her favorite subjects to provide a glimpse into daily life and celebration in these far away places.
Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images/Associated Press, NY Times, Washington Post, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Paste Magazine, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Clarksville, TN. It is about 30 minutes outside of Nashville. I went to college in Cookeville at Tennessee Tech University and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio after graduating college. But I think I am still growing up. I celebrate my 26th birthday every year!
Tell us about your vision, or mission. What’s ahead for you and/or your career?
I have had what I would consider three separate careers happening almost simultaneously. I have an Industrial Engineering degree and an MBA and have been working as an engineer since graduating in 1999. I formed my own engineering consulting company (Elevate Consulting Solutions) in 2016 and have been focused on growing that business over the past four years.
I have always traveled a lot for work all over the world and in 2006 I started to learn photography by combining travel and photography workshops. I was fortunate to have great mentors who taught me how to use my camera while seeing some amazing places around the world.
My mission is to be a great visual storyteller and inspire people to travel the world. Whether that means going a few miles away or across the globe. Travel changes your perspective and there are amazing people to meet everywhere if you are open to meeting them.
We love people who break the boundaries and relentlessly push toward their goals. That said, what drives you? Was there an event, or personal moment that triggered it all?
In 2008, when I was on an extended assignment for two years in Asia Pacific I was able to practice my travel photography and start a stock photography small business. One day in Dec 2008, I was taking photos on the street in Tokyo and some musicians from the US approached me and asked if I was a photographer and I said it was my hobby. They invited me to shoot their show at Billboard Live that night and the rest is kind of history. It turned out they were playing with Mario (R&B artist) and I spent the night capturing their show and backstage moments. We all became fast friends and that night I realized I wanted to be a music photographer. After returning to the US I emailed the local weekly paper until they gave me a chance to cover local shows for them.
I started doing interviews and shooting any musical act that came to the area in all music genres. Music photography is hard because it is dark, lighting can be erratic, and subjects are moving. It took a lot of practice to get to the point where I was happy with my work, but the hard work paid off. Over the years I joined photo agencies and I am currently a freelance photographer with the Associated Press. My photos have been published in Rolling Stone, NY Times, In Style, People Magazine, Penthouse, Glamour, Pollstar, Ebony, National Geographic, Fodor’s Travel Guides, and Delta Sky Magazine.
Over the past few years I have shifted some of my focus back to travel photography and have started a travel blog (The Travel Addict) to inspire others to see the world. I want to make time to travel more in the year to come.
Have you been rejected along the way? How did you feel? How did you overcome it?
Of course, all of the career paths that I have chosen to have been traditionally male dominated. There have been many rejections with my engineering company and my photography work. Both industries are very relationship driven and sometimes it can take many years to build the trust and connections you need to get the jobs.
The best advice I can give is to be resilient and not take everything personal. Sometimes the rejection is not even about you. Stick with it and believe in your skillset and the work will come.
If you could offer a piece of wisdom/advice to someone who is ready to break their own boundaries, what would you tell them?
Find something you are passionate about and work hard to become the best at it.
What mantra do you would want the world to remember you by?
Work hard at everything that you do. Do what you say you will do. There may be many people who are smarter but it is hard to out work me when I set my mind to something.
What does it mean to you to be fueled by choice?
To do what makes you happy and inspires you.
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