Babe of the Month is a monthly interview series created to promote inspiring women online.
Chloe Sheppard is the 19 year old photographer that has taken the Internet and Lana del Rey by storm. I found her dreamy 70s style portraits of her friends one day I was deep into the maze of Instagram and was left breathless. Her photographs capture all the glamour, angst and awkwardness of being a girl in your teens. Therefore I was stoked as she agreed to have an email convo with me. We talk about why that age fascinates her, her obsession with the States and what advice she’d give to other teens out there.
I obviously think you rock, but for those unfamiliar with you, how would you describe yourself?
A film photographer obsessed with old American culture, records and roses.
What is it you want to communicate with your work?
Really to begin with I was just taking photos because it was something I found enjoyable and a distraction from other work I should have been doing at the time. But now I’m thinking more consciously about what I’m putting out there, I just want to be inclusive in my work. I want to shoot all types of people who have similar views and ideas to myself.
You only shoot teen girls in quite dreamy settings, tell us about that.
I think because I’m quite close to turning 20 and no longer being a teenager, I feel like I’m losing something. Perhaps I’m more drawn to capturing teenage girls because I would have liked to have been captured in a similar way when I was that age.
Looking back at your journey, what advice would you have given to your 13 year old self?
It’s cliche, but probably to stop worrying what people think. And to not get so wrapped up in petty things when there is so much more to life. To never take things, or people, for granted.
I would also say that your photos and videos has quite a glamorous 70s LA feel to them. What is it with the states and/or that decade that fascinates you?
That’s always a vibe I try and incorporate into a lot of my work. I love the states. When I was younger I wasn’t so well travelled outside of the UK, but all the things I was into, like musicians etc were all from America, so I just associated it with them and thought of it as this great land. Now I’m older, just a lot of the visions I have for my work fit well with certain places over there that it just feeds my infatuation I guess.
Also a lot of the music I grew up listening to, and still listen to now, was from the 70s, so I feel attached to it in some way even though I wasn’t alive through it at all. The clothing style too, oh and the cars, I’m just in love with it all. I have so much love for America now, but I think it looked a lot nicer back then.
What is the best thing about being a female photographer?
I think I get to connect with other female photographers and artists in such a special way because of it. I feel like we automatically trust each other because we understand the way we work. I’m also super shy, and the thought of directing a boy on a shoot makes me beyond nervous haha.
What cultural touchstones i.e. books, films, events, have been influential in shaping you and your work?
The movie Thirteen definitely influenced my aesthetic a lot as I watched it when I was very young. It’s literally one of the greatest films and carries such a good message as well as being beautifully directed. Same with the movie Dazed and Confused. I partly blame it for my obsession with the seventies. Other than that, it’s mainly music I’m inspired by. I hear songs and lyrics which either make me want to create photos/videos to match them, or to photograph the kind of person I feel would listen to the same songs you know?
I heard that your dream came true and our all ultimate crybaby Lana del Rey followed you. Tell us about that!
Ah yeah it was crazy! I’d just got off the phone when it happened and I almost dropped my phone I was so ecstatic. I had met her in London and gave her a copy of my zine, as parts of it are so heavily influenced by her. Then the next day she followed me and I was just like… speechless.
I have tweets from when I was like a super lame 15 year old saying how I’d die if she ever followed me. I was so obsessed.
This feature is about highlighting inspirational women so I’d like to know who are your biggest girl crushes are and why.
Well besides the obvious one of Lana Del Rey, I l o v e Jane Birkin. She is such a beautiful person, both inside and out. I watched a video of her once and she said something like “I’ve been given such a privileged life that I feel it’s only fair I give something back” and from then on dedicated herself to helping humanitarian charities.
Also Penny Lane from Almost Famous. She lived my dream life and I still to this day wish I could be the real life version of her.
Any final advice for all aspiring kickass women out there?
Keep doing what you’re doing. Even if you think you’re getting nowhere, you’re always going somewhere. And don’t forget to keep appreciating the other kickass women around you.
OTHER INSPIRING WOMEN:
Photographer FRANCESCA ALLEN
Tattoo Artist TATIANA KARTOMTEN
Illustrator MARIA HERREROS
DJ HANNAH FAITH
Artist REBECCA LARSSON
Indonesian blogger ROSALINDA TIJOE
Fashion blogger CLARISSA HENRY
Instagram twins ELISABETH & VICTORIA LEJONHJÄRTA
All images are by Chloe Sheppard