photo by Irina Garaiacu

photo by Irina Garaiacu

It STARTED WITH A SUNSET

As I kid I used to walk to the bottom of my driveway to capture the incredible West Hawaii sunsets. Despite the disposable camera's automatic flash and my dog tugging at the other end of the leash, the seed was planted and I fell in love with photography. I've used it as a way to connect with the world ever since.

I'm most interested in the narrative-- the stories behind the people, the things you wouldn't know unless you asked or paid close attention. That curiosity manifests itself in my photography, where I strive to tell a compelling story in each image using light, color, composition, and mood. 

I left the Big Island for college in California where I continued to nurse my photography hobby as I studied journalism and communications. After working in both the news and non-profit sectors, I realized that the camera had been my calling all along. So, for two years I studied at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where I smelled a lot like darkroom chemicals and slept very little. 

And all those years, Hawaii's been in my heart. After Art Center I found a way to continue shooting in Hawaii, making frequent trips back to document the land that I love so much. As the saying goes, you can take the girl from the island, but you can't take the island from the girl.  Now I split my time between the laid-back ease of Hawaii and California's #bosslady hustle.

Let's connect. I'd love to tell your story. My eyes and my heart are wide open.


 
 

Getting personal

 

Mauna Kea, circa 1988

My first snowman was built in the driveway of my parents' house after we hauled a truckbed full of snow down from the mountain. It melted under the Kona sun in 30 minutes.

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Let's go outside

Though I live in the big city, I'd much prefer to be in the wilderness. My family loves hiking, so we do an overnight backpacking trip at least once a year.

Hey honey

I'm fascinated by bees and one day I'll have a hive or two of my own. Maybe I'll even give you a jar of honey or some beeswax candles if you ask nicely. ;)

@sweetolivegrey

Adopted this silly pup in 2014 and she changed my whole world. Visit her Instagram to fully understand my obsession.

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Turn it up

There are few better ways to spend a night out than listening to live music. This was at the legendary Continental Club in Austin, TX. I gave Junior Brown a print of this image when he came through LA a few years later.

Sisters

The one in the red, Sara, is a circus performer. Melissa (in pink) is a triathlete and conservationist. They still like me despite the decades I spent bossing them around as their big sister.

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Playing with clay

When photography went from a hobby to my full-time job, I needed a new outlet. Enter ceramics. I'm just beginning my journey with clay, but I love that it forces me to use a different kind of creativity.

I ❤︎ Film

I still shoot film as much as possible. Most of my personal work is done with a 35mm camera, and I always try to shoot a little film on each job.