For this artist spotlight, we invited Elizabeth (Liz) Larson to share her experiences with photography within the Supernatural, Louden Swain, and The Station Breaks fandom communities. She captures beautiful images with an artistic composition that is recognized and loved by fans. She was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us so we could get to know her in her own words:
Your photos have a specific artistic style and recognizable-especially within the Supernatural and Louden Swain fan base and the convention and concert circuit. How did that all start? What originally inspired you to start con and concert photography?
A recognizable style is something I think a lot of people struggle with or are unsure of, I know that’s the case for me and my friends I’ve talked to that take photos anyway. So it’s always nice when people acknowledge that because there are still some times where I’m like “Style? I don’t see it.” It’s there I think, but there are good days where you’re confident and sure of yourself and what you’re doing, and bad days where you’re comparing yourself to everyone else.
I’ve been going to Supernatural cons since 2011, adding in photography just made sense to me. It’s a thing I can focus on during panels and not get restless. “Enjoying” a con, or a concert, for me is with a camera in my hands. I always brought along a little point and shoot camera and did what I could with that, just to have photos to keep. I didn’t start actively posting anything online for other people to see until 2015 which is when I started bringing my DSLR to cons and when I started attending more than one con a year. But going to those early cons, one thing that sparked me trying harder and attempting to establish myself within fandom as a “con photographer” was seeing Megan’s (a previous artist we featured, Stardust & Melancholy) photos, loving them, and thinking “That. I want to do that.”
Do you have a favorite photo shoot you have done from a specific convention, concert, or other personal project?
The lighting at the Troubadour for Jason’s (Manns) Christmas album and Station Breaks album release party (December 2016) was amazing. Everything was so colorful, I love those photos. The stuff I just got at the Phoenix Supernatural Convention has been really satisfying too. That may be my favorite con I’ve shot so far (well “con”, karaoke and SNS.)
What draws you to Supernatural? What draws you to the music of Louden Swain or Station Breaks? What is one of your favorite episodes of Supernatural? What is one of your favorite Louden Swain Songs?
I sort of started watching SPN as a fluke. Had it in my netflix dvd queue, something else was supposed to be sent out but they must’ve been out and had to send the next thing. I think I went out and bought the first few seasons on dvd pretty much immediately. That was in 2010. I don’t honestly watch the show so much anymore (I know, I know. Boo, hiss). I started falling behind this last season. I’m definitely still here for the fandom in general though. Started going to the cons for the show, keep going because of the actors and the overall vibe, as well as seeing friends I never see otherwise. It’s one of my happy places. My fave episode is Don’t Call Me Shurley, no contest.
Louden Swain I started listening to because I knew Rob (Benedict) was going to the con I was going to next and I tend to be a researcher. Liked the music well enough, I remember “All I Need” was an early fave when I was listening to “Eskimo” and “A Brand New Hurt”. Then I met the guy and was immediately screwed, he’s such a nice guy. Once I saw them play live, which would’ve been a year, year and a half after I started listening and a year after I saw Rob for the first time, I was absolutely hooked. Though, Station Breaks is actually much more my usual taste in music. Sometimes Swain takes a little bit to grow on me, I loved Station Breaks right away. Picking a favorite Swain song is so hard because there are so many and it changes often… right now… I’d go with Kind of Guy. But perennial faves are Prom, All I Need, Over Before It Began, Hot Times, and so so many more. Station Breaks, on the other hand, is easy with one album. The Rest is my favorite by far.
Are there any other photographers who personally inspire you or whose work inspires you?
There are tons. Whether they shoot the same things I do or something completely different. Megan’s (Stardust & Melancholy) photos are the most polished things ever. She should be in magazines. Her photos wouldn’t look the slightest bit out of place. Ash’s (@amcclinticphoto) photos are all so raw and she catches emotions so well. I’ve always loved Anne’s (@house_of_darkly) photos when she posts them. Whenever Meghan (@meghangerhart) posts any of her self portraits I’m always thinking “oh my god the editing, teach me your waysss.” Then there’s (Chris) Schmelke, who’s amazing. I’m much more inspired by my friends than photographers who are more well known outside of fandom.
Is there a cast member or performer that you are drawn to taking photos of? Why?
Seriously, if I said anyone other than Rob here, people would hit me. I think it’s partially because he’s so open and genuine so it’s so easy to see the emotion that just cascades off the man, but also because I, personally, am the most comfortable around him versus other members of the cast. I was just thinking the other day after shooting Swain’s show at The Study that I’ve created a weird little safe space for myself in Station Breaks and Swain shows outside of cons. It’s where I feel the most comfortable shooting, which means I can do different things and challenge myself more without overthinking, hesitating, or being self conscious. I love that it’s worked up to where it’s not weird for me to just hit the floor in the middle of the show to shoot things from down low, or to trade places with other people in the crowd to get a different angle. That has a lot to do with Rob and the rest of the guys in the bands as well and how accepting and encouraging they are.
Do you have any advice, tips, tricks or words of wisdom for other photographers/aspiring photographers?
Honestly, just keep shooting. Keep experimenting, challenge yourself, try different things. Move around more while shooting when you’re given the opportunity to, shoot weird angles, don’t always shoot from eye level. Anyone who I’ve shot portraits of will tell you that it’s completely normal for me to climb up things or into bushes, just to get the shot I want or to try something different. Watch youtube videos to learn new ways to edit. Get open, honest feedback and critiques from others (I should do this more than I do.) Because while you should be shooting for you, getting a different pair of eyes on something that you’ve been staring at for so long will bring up things that you either didn’t see or didn’t think to change or improve in a photo. Also, everyone has bad days or bad shoots where nothing works out the way you want it to. Sometimes pushing past it helps, sometimes taking a bit of a break helps, but don’t full on stop or give up. Find something different to try, something that inspires you, or shooting a way you’re not used to. It’ll come back.
Do you have an online website where we can look at or buy your prints or other merchandise?
I’m lots of places online!
I have a Redbubble
I tend to do print orders through the website I order prints from for myself so I just have people Direct Message me on twitter me to buy prints. My twitter is @LizNLarsonPhoto which is where I’m the most active. But I’m also on Facebook and instagram @LizNLarsonPhoto
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
If you’re just now hearing of me, welcome, hope you like what you see, follow if you like. If you were already following, I appreciate the hell outta you every day. It still kind of blows my mind that so many people care about the photos I take and support me.
We hope you follow and support Liz’s work! We are grateful for her contribution to this month’s fandom artist spotlight, and look forward to seeing more of her work.