Christina Emilie Shields
We are building a collective of like-minded women who share a genuine love for the world around us. Women who live where Mountains Meet.
Christina wearing the Kelby Pant.
As social media has become a prominent form of communication (if not the primary one!), photography has become a skill that we are all trying to teach ourselves. What are a few best practices for creating compelling imagery?
Photography is a way to convey a message. That’s the one thing I try my hardest to do -- create a reaction or emotion from my work. I most often do this through capturing details you wouldn’t necessarily see with the naked eye, shapes in our surroundings that don’t always present themselves in obvious ways, and knowing when to create a scenario vs letting a it happen. Other ways I create compelling imagery is by interacting with my subject on a personal level. The most important thing a photographer can do, is to remember to connect with their subject. For me, exterior beauty is only a result of someone's inner beauty. I take responsibility for finding that when I’m behind a camera.
What was the last image you took? "Unedited, straight from my Camera."
What was the last first camera you owned? "A Canon Rebel T3i (in 2010)."
We loved following your recent work trip to Africa on Instagram and were so moved by the personal anecdotes you shared. What impact did that trip have on the way you perceive culture, community and global responsibility?
I was asked to accompany Lauren Bush Lauren and her company FEED, to photograph their 10 year anniversary campaign in Africa and Madagascar. Every year for the past 10 years, they’ve donated portions of their proceeds to their partner, The World Food Program. Together they’ve helped provide meals to local school’s around the globe, who can’t provide the crucial nutrition children need throughout their day. We all know hunger is a legitimate issue in the world, but to see it first hand has forever changed my perception of so many things. I was lucky enough to have been exposed to this side of the world and spend 10 days immersed in a culture so contrasted to my own, not only in NYC, but the U.S.
My take-aways go far beyond the photographs I captured. I was very impacted by the concept of the birth lottery – it really made sense to me after visiting Africa. It reminded me that no matter where or who we are, every community is made up like all the rest. I now feel a great responsibility to do my part in leaving the world a better place than I found it. I would have liked to think that I was doing so before, but the thing is, we can all find ways to better serve each other.
Most picturesque location in New York City?
Heading home to LIC on the ferry from Dumbo.
Last song you listened to?
"Tuyo" by Rodrigo Amarante.
Bucket list destination for a photoshoot?
Muralla Roja + Morocco.
Last book you read?
THRIVE by Arianna Huffington.
You have worked closely with a number of socially conscious brands (like us!), what are some changes you have made in your own life as a result of these experiences?
I am a recycling maniac. One of my pet peeves is when people throw away plastic in the garbage. I’m not bashful to say I’m that person that will organize misplaced recyclables and hold to them until I can find the proper way to recycle them. I also try to keep my showers under 15 minutes long, shop with reusable totes and shop locally. I honestly try my best to make sure I’m researching anything I’m buying - from clothing, to furniture, to food.
What is one thing you changed in your home life as a result of your experience in Africa?
I’m trying to limit my phone usage. It was incredibly refreshing to barely have the internet for 10 days straight. It’s amazing how you can forget to make conversation with the people around you because you’re automatically doing something on your phone. Being more present cleared my head of unnecessary worries and helped me to become more productive and appreciative.
The biggest change I’ve made in my home life since returning from such an influential trip is gratitude & being present. I’ve never felt as content in my current life as I do after experiencing my trip to Africa. After experiencing suffering across the globe, it’s helped solidified the communication between my mind, body, and spirit. The stresses of life before my trip, used to seem daunting and I’d waste time worrying about them. My goal since the trip has been to be grateful for every small thing I am lucky to have-- running water, a comfy bed and grocery stores to purchase food for upcoming meals. I am striving to be more grateful for everything in my life. It’s too easy to take things for granted. The more appreciation you have for your own well-being, the more you can help others achieve the same.
All imagery provided by Christina Shields.
You can follow all her adventures here.