We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Howard and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
Photographers know how many frames it can take to get one great shot. I think there’s a lot more experimentation involved than non-photographers probably realize.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I photograph families and businesses with a documentary, day-in-the-life approach. I have a BFA in photography from a program that encouraged technical precision, but I prefer finding meaningful compositions in real life, rather than creating them in a studio. But I do feel I’m at an advantage having trained with film, using all kinds of cameras and lighting, and directing people when I need to. I worked as a theater publicist in Chicago for about 5 years, promoting those shows taught me a lot about looking for moments that can communicate a lot of information in one frame. I’m pretty empathic, and I’m often able to connect with people very quickly, even if we just share a look or smile. I love the process of discovering what makes people or places special. Some people initially come across as shy, but I think everyone has things in their life that really light them up, and once you get them talking and geeking about that thing they love — like how their vegetable garden is doing this year, or how close they are to filling their National Parks Passport, or whatever it is — seeing their enthusiasm is beautiful. A place can be that way too, seemingly banal until you explore it from different angles or in different light. I really enjoy listening and paying attention to quiet details that other people might miss. Self-promotion can be a challenge for me, since I tend to shy away from the spotlight!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’ve lived in Atlanta for about 6 years now and love our home in Kirkwood. During normal, non-Covid times, we’d easily center a trip around going out for food. Close to home, our neighborhood favorite is Poor Hendrix, they mostly serve small plates and the menus are always changing. When we moved here Ponce City Market was under construction, so we saw it evolve into an incredible food hall. I love the chicken salad at Botiwalla (Indian Street Food), a 100-layer chocolate donut from Five Daughters Bakery with Spiller Park coffee, and then a long walk along the East Side Beltline trail. I always enjoy browsing for vintage furnishings and stuff, Westside Market has dozens of vendors and it’s close to Antico pizza, whose dough is outstanding. Along Buford Highway, Treat Your Feet is amazing for an inexpensive, luxurious foot massage, and then sizzling BeBimBop at Stone Bowl is perfect on a cold day. In the summer, my favorite slushy Boba tea is at Tea Top. Anyone who appreciates food will also be awestruck by the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market and its giant international selection. The High Museum is a gorgeous space that’s just the right size for seeing a couple of exhibits fully without getting overwhelmed, and they have Friday night Jazz concerts. Across the street, the smaller Museum of Design Atlanta is excellent too. We’re so lucky to have beautiful free parks everywhere around the city, walking along any section of the Beltline is fun in good weather. I miss taking ukulele classes at the Frank Hamilton School in Decatur, they always have a jam session after class where the students and teachers play all kinds of instruments together. Wow, remember when we used to go places and do stuff? That was fun.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have an aunt who’s a clinical psychologist, and our conversations over the years have helped shape my views about relationships, self-acceptance, trying new things, and seeing opportunities to learn from failures. Her encouragement, compassion and humor have helped me tremendously.