When I was trying to arrange a time to talk to US photographer Colleen Duffley on Skype recently she told me she was out on her Yolo (you only live once!) board and would rush back home to chat. It says a lot about Colleen - not only because she never rests, but also because she's carved out an amazing life for herself. Colleen travels the world with her photography but bases herself on Florida's Emerald Coast. When we spoke she said she often she sees dolphins in the ocean when she's out Yolo-ing! Colleen is not only prolific and successful as a photographer but she's a do-er too. She created the amazing concept of Studio B - which is a place where you can attend creative classes hosted by leaders in their fields. Just check out this roll call of lecturers - yes, that is India Hicks and Jonathan Adler. And I love this quote about Colleen: "I hire Colleen Duffley because she can take a sugar cube and make it look like art." Eddie Nunns - VP/Creative Director NEIMAN MARCUS.
Which five words best describe you? Creative, adventurous, passionate, thoughtful, fun.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since? My first job was as a photographer's assistant (while I was in photography school). I assisted a fashion photographer. He was an amazing mentor and taught me photo-integrity and responsibility for the images you take. He still is a dear dear friend and his lessons I use everyday. My path is still the photographic one but I've added director, producer and concept consultant to the resume.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Perseverance, drive and integrity are I think the backbone of any good business. And I think as a photographer/director it's that stick-to-ative ness has served me well.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I guess still being in business after 25-plus years is a pretty big achievement these days. I've had so many great opportunities over that time. Traveled all over the world, meeting great people and celebs who are the best of the best in so many different fields. I've never specialised in one type of photography. People, places, things has been my tag line. I have always shot the works which has opened up so many doors. I have creative ADD is what I've always said... it serves me well.
What’s been your best decision? Choosing a creative field that I can honestly say I have not grown bored with. Becoming a photographer has allowed me to wear lots of hats, go lots of places and meet lots of wonderful people.
Who inspires you? Lots of people do... why you do Natalie... my friends inspire me... people who juggle things in life, have to wear lots of hats, working moms... Gosh, how do they do it??? People who take chances inspire me.
What are you passionate about? Gosh... I'm weird: I'm passionate about lots of things, including my work, cooking, my friends, food... good food, good design, art, music, movies. I love movies! My cats!
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Hmmm. On any given day I'd have a different answer. There are so many. Today: from Ron Howard to Madonna
or anyone who can keep re-inventing themselves.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I want to direct a movie.
What are you reading? I don't have a lot of time for reading but when I do, I get obsessed with it. But my favorite books that I've read over and over are The Warrior Athlete, The Alchemist and The Aritst's Way. I love books.
images courtesy of colleen duffley