How did you get into photography?
My background is actually in makeup. I was a makeup artist for a long time and about 4 years ago I started to burn out. I was creatively unfulfilled and just decided to get a 35mm film camera for fun. All my friends are such babes and creatives so I would just take photos of them when we were hanging out. Nothing staged. I always had my camera on me. I also had a couple of polaroid cameras that I’ve had since I was a teenager. So I really just started doing it for fun and posting the scanned images on Instagram, and out of nowhere brands started reaching out to me to start shooting stuff for them with my friends. It snowballed from there! I quit my makeup agency 2 years ago and never looked back!
Describe your style in 3 words.
You’ve got a real love for polaroids and film - Where did that come from?
My love for Polaroids began when I was a teenager in California. I used to take tons of Polaroids of my teen boyfriend/first love - He was truly my first muse. I would even force him to let me put makeup on him. He was a beauty! I also grew up in a house that was obsessed with the 60’s and 70’s. Most of my favorite music and style is from those decades and I'm very much influenced by that time. I am very old school in a lot of ways. I read actual books (no kindle for me), I DJ with records mainly, and I shoot only with film, polaroids, and super 8. I just really love the quality and texture of film, and you get cool surprises with film too like light leaks and weird grainy effects. I think it’s just more interesting.
Biggest inspiration when it comes to doing a shoot?
A lot of things inspire my shoots. I am really inspired by old films and icons of the past. The brand and the clothes I’m shooting obviously inspire the vibe and who I cast and where I shoot. The subjects hugely inspire how I shoot them. Casting is super important to me. I typically only shoot friends or people I know. I never go through modelling agencies. I like to have a relationship with the people I shoot. I think it’s important that we are having fun and are comfortable and vibe well together, because it's just me - No team. I style and do the hair and makeup most of the time!
Where are you based?
I will officially be living in LA in February! I still don’t have a place but I have been living in Beachwood Canyon by the Hollywood sign for the past few months. It is such a dream. Ideally I would like to get a place there! I have been going back and forth between NYC and LA all year, but I have been living in NYC since 2004! It’s the end of an era. I can’t believe I am moving to LA - To be honest, I am such a New Yorker. I am from Long Beach, CA, originally, so its kind of a homecoming for me. I really fell in love with Los Angeles this year and never felt that way about it before. It is beautiful and chill. I just think its the perfect place for me to be for where I am at in my life right now and where my work is going. My work is much more 1960’s/1970’s Los Angeles than New York. The light and the locations really suit my vibe! I also have sooo many dear friends there and my family... It just feels right!
What’s a typical day in the life of Kristin look like?
A typical day in my life lately has been waking up early (which I never used to be able to do) and meditating to start my day off right, having a cup of coffee and breakfast, and mentally getting ready for my day. I always try to be super productive and even if I am not working that day I am doing office work. I work as my own agent so I am always working on getting new clients and setting up shoots for myself, plus prepping for shoots. I always need to keep busy, so you'll even see me running errands and meeting up with friends/potential clients. I am also quite social and I DJ on the side so my evenings are often spent going to events, dinners or parties. I do enjoy chilling out a lot too and reading or watching TV. I am friends with a ton of musicians so I go to a lot of shows to support my friends. New York life and LA are a bit different though. NYC is a lot more social and spontaneous, and LA you really have to make proper plans and make more effort to hang out with people.
A well-known Kristin saying and why.
I say ‘Serenity Now!’ a lot which is a Seinfeld reference. It's definitely my favorite show of all time and I reference it constantly with my friends. So whenever I am stressed or going through it I usually say that as a joke.
Tell us about the shoot with Z berg and Nick.
The shoot with Z Berg and Nick Hinman was a blast! They are good friends of mine and are both amazing musicians (they're in a band together called 'Palm Springsteen')! Nick is also a model and Z has solo stuff out and used to be in the band The Like. They were so much fun to shoot! We shot at this old school bowling alley, Shatto Lanes (in Nick’s neighbourhood). We bowled a game. Z and I were terrible and Nick is basically a pro. We then borrowed my friend Harrison’s old Cutlass from the 60’s and shot inside and outside of the car and then in front of one of my favorite old Hollywood Motels, The Harvard House Motel. It has the coolest signage! Overall it was an amazing day!
2019 resolutions/goals/plans/something you want to speak out into existence...
I have so many resolutions and goals for 2019! First of all, I am relocating so that is a huge deal for me. I want to find my dream apt/house this year. I want to get my first photo agent. I am going to be launching a zine project that I have been working on in the next couple of months with dear friends of mine, the band 'Blame Candy', which is very exciting. After that launches I will begin working on a proper book project and my next photo show. I also started meditating again recently and it has been life changing so I really want to stick to that because it helps me so much in everything that I do. Plus the usual resolutions of getting in better shape, eating healthier, less drinking etc!
Photographer: Kristin Gallegos @kristingallegos