The Creative Unconscious: What's your name, age, and professional title? Where are you currently employed?
Zoe Rain: Zoe Rain, 23, Photographer, Self Employed/Freelance
TCU: What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?
ZR: Being around other artists really inspires me. I go to a ton of live shows, artist galleries, movie premieres etc. Watching other people do cool shit helps me wanna make cool shit myself.
TCU: Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?
ZR: Totally. It is never about time issues, but I think when I have a lot of editing on my plate that I am not super excited about, I tend to avoid work and editing all together. I also am usually very scared of creating personal work because of my own fears and insecurities, so I often just don't make it at all. I am moving to a 2300 sf loft space in the artist district of Chicago next month, and will have a full on studio space to work out of whenever inspiration strikes. I think that will help me avoid my excuses to not shoot.
Ultimately, you have to make work that you are proud of, even in jobs like a wedding or head shots. Finding a way to make those shoots feel like personal ones can help keep the inspiration moving
TCU: What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?
ZR: Usually when I have other things to be doing. Often inspiration hits right around 4/5 pm, as my girlfriend gets home and people get off work/want to go out. I am not a very good early morning worker. I am very productive late at night, when there are less distractions or reasons to go out and about.
TCU: What are your creative goals for the future?
ZR: Get a studio space—check; Have one-two go to assistants that I can train and help craft their own careers; Get an agent or rep; Work for a magazine to get photo passes to concerts of artists that I really respect and want to shoot.
TCU: Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?
ZR: I have recently been shooting some custom embroidered jackets made by a local friend involved in the Chicago rap scene. Her name is Emma but is quickly gaining the nickname Stitch Gawd. She makes incredible art come to life of personalized jackets, and we have been trying to shoot as many as we can on the people they are gifted to.
I love it because I get to help out a friend, shoot a unique thing, and document some amazing artists here in the Chicago scene.
TCU: What scares you?
ZR: Not achieving what I am capable of. Not working hard enough and missing out on opportunities. Being content with where I am and being standstill in my art. Becoming a has-been. Being forgotten.
TCU: What does success mean to you?
ZR: Constantly doing the best work I can, making people feel beautiful and special, while taking on projects that scare me.
Looking back on a year ago and going, damn, I cannot believe I was shooting that and now I am shooting this. Seeing growth consistently.
I mean shooting for Rolling Stone or Fader would feel pretty cool too. But I try to keep my future open and let my story evolve where it needs to go.
TCU: Anything else you want to add?
ZR: Be so good they can't ignore you. But the only way to do that, is to make a TON of shitty work. It is so stereotypical, but failure teaches so much more than "success." Speaking of failure, back up your work. Just do it.
If you want to learn more about Zoe and see more of her beautiful work, head over to www.zoerainphoto.com.