Coleen Hodges Unraveled: An Interview

Coleen Hodges is a mother of two and a lifestyle photographer based out of Phoenix, Arizona. She is a co-founder and one of the lead instructors here at Unraveled Academy and has been teaching/mentoring for the past two years within the photography community. Her passion for teaching and creating a community of like-minded artists is immeasurable. She is warm and welcoming to all and truly makes UA feel like home to every student who enrolls and walks alongside her. She is also a co-founder of Spectrum Inspired, which is a nonprofit and global initiative to raise awareness for and destigmatize autism spectrum disorders through the use of lifestyle photography.  

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What inspires your art? My children.  Hands down.  Their little voices.  The way my son grabs my hand in his sleep and pulls it to his chest.  How my daughter's hair falls in her face when she's dancing.  They were the reason I picked up a camera and the reason I still hold one.

What do you shoot with? Camera body and favorite lens? I shoot with the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 35mm 1.4 II.  I am an ultra-minimalist when it comes to my gear. This, paired with a scarf camera strap, is all that I shoot with.

What other ways do you express your creativity? I express creativity in allowing my kids to be creative.  In our house, we love music.  Dancing to old vinyls is a daily occurrence for us.  I'm also always looking to add new instruments to our current collection.  For Christmas, I got them an old piano.  I used to play and I'm interested to see what I remember.  But embracing music with them is newest form of creative expression, outside of photography.  

How do you de-stress at the end of the day? A cold, dark beer and Saturday Night Live.  

What kind of music do you listen to while editing? While this completely varies depending on what I'm editing and what mood I'm in, I love Passenger and James Vincent McMorrow.

What is your favorite book? I have had a copy of The Sonnets by William Shakespeare since I was 15 years old.  It's old and worn, but it's without a doubt my favorite book of all time.  The tattered old bookmark stays at #116... a sonnet that gives me joy and one that I have read to both of my children since they were newborns.

Name one movie that inspires you. This may not be a typical answer, but The Family Stone is my favorite movie of all time.  I love everything about it... how it was shot, how it was edited, the absurdly hilarious yet beautiful reality of human nature.  When I need to be inspired creatively, I watch it. 

How do you handle self-doubt or creative slumps? Before I knew the universal nature of creative slumps, they used to crush me.  Now, I not only embrace these times and shoot through them, but I remind myself that something beautiful always happens when I climb out.

What has been the most difficult part of your creative journey? This is something I've been very open about for the past year or so.  The toughest part of my creative journey was my ex-husband and the lack of support for my creative ventures.  I know that there are a lot of women who have either experienced it in the past or are experiencing it currently.  While our stories may be different, the parallels are there and I'm here to remind you that you are amazing, strong and capable of anything.  

Who is one of your favorite photographers? Without a doubt, Annie Leibovitz.  What she has done, not only for the photography community, but for women in the arts, specifically.... well, she's my hero.

Coleen Hodges