Lindsay Crowder is a Brooklyn-based photographer whose work focuses on the natural world. She has lived in cities across the United States, most notably San Francisco, as well as in Rennes (in the Brittany region of France), where she studied the French language. Along the way, Lindsay has captured images of blossoming flowers, of decaying leaves, of fog drifting over the Marin Headlands, and once, of a bison crossing the highway paved through the Teton mountain range in Wyoming. Her welcome the viewer into their space, reminding us that we are not detached from these organisms and their environments, but a part of them.
Lindsay has been featured in Jamie Magazine and Elle Girl, among many others, as well as on Instagram’s Suggested User list. She recently launched her own , where she sells prints to order. And I was fortunate enough to talk with her about that. —/em>
What first inspired you to become a photographer?
I’ve always loved taking pictures. Growing up, I brought a camera with me everywhere I went, always film. I loved the whole process of it — choosing the type of film to shoot, loading the camera, taking pictures, picking them up, or developing them myself in a darkroom, and sharing them. It’s been a hobby of mine for as long as I can remember.
Your images show a reverence for nature, but what really distinguishes them is an almost childlike sense of wonder. Can you speak to that?
That’s really interesting that you noted that, and I would agree. I’ve spent most of my adult life working with children at some level — as a nanny, teacher, or tutor. The majority of my recent work is a result of my time spent with them. Taking them to quiet places, open spaces. Places where they (and I) can feel free.
How does being a queer-identified artist inform your work? Do you feel like, as an LGBT person, you see the world through a different viewfinder?
I believe that my work speaks more to the general human experience in relation to the natural world than a specific identity or population. I would hope that being queer-identified has helped me to be more aware of my place in the world and more sensitive to others, and consequently, has allowed me to view humanity on a much larger scale. As we are all here, sharing this planet, and regardless of who we are, it’s our responsibility to take care of it. That is something that we all have in common, and the message that I believe is important to communicate.
How do you feel about San Francisco — aesthetically, culturally, meteorologically?
San Francisco is one of the most beautiful, special places in the world. The natural beauty of the Bay Area— the ocean, trees, and fog — is unlike anywhere I have ever seen. It’s mystical, magical, ethereal. The architecture and hilly streets complement its environment perfectly. I would argue that San Francisco is one of the best cities in the world to photograph. Culturally, it felt like a land of dreamers. I had never lived in a city that felt so wild and free, regardless of who you are or how you identify. Unfortunately, that seems to be shifting as the tech industry continues to infiltrate the city.
How do you feel about New York?
New York is tough. New York is real. I couldn’t imagine a city feeling more different than San Francisco, but it’s a welcomed feeling and I’m growing to love it. New York, to me, is like a raw sample of humanity. It’s so rich in culture and history, you feel as if you’re in a walking museum at every turn. Because it is so compact and complex, it has allowed me to gain a great deal of perspective as a human and learn to appreciate sweet, simple moments.
Are you able to capture some of those different feelings in your images?
I think so. When you look at the evolution of my work from San Francisco to New York, you can definitely note these feelings. San Francisco looks like a beautiful, foggy dream and humanity is lucky to be there. New York is covered in human existence, and the elements of nature that have adapted around that impact are notably special.
What first inspired you to start your own business?
After enough people asked me for prints of my images, I figured it was worthwhile.
What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?
The best advice that I ever received, and something that I replay in my head almost every day, is the simple concept to “create your own work.” My dear friend (Sawyer DeVuyst!) started his own furniture business and several other projects after receiving this simple advice from another creative. As I second-guessed myself, or questioned the success of my own business, he would continuously remind me to just create my own work. It’s a simple, effective way to stay focused and authentic. And I realized that the only reason anyone else around me had any success in pursuing their passion is because they had the confidence to do it, to create their own work.
What have you had to sacrifice, either personally or artistically, in order to start your own business?
Fortunately, with a venue like Etsy, I had to sacrifice very little. And because it’s something that I love to do and want to do, it feels more like fun!
Can you name the most important lesson you’ve learned in running a business?
I’ve quickly learned that the more you put into your business, the more you get out of it. Whether it be creating more products, taking more pictures, updating the website, social networking, marketing, etc., etc. There is really no limit on how much time and effort you want to put into it. And the more you do, the better for your business. It’s really a win-win, especially when you love what you do and are so honored to share it with the world.
What are three things someone should consider before starting their own business?
1. Have a plan. Know your product, research the market, be prepared.
2. Be patient. It can feel very exciting to start something you love, but set realistic goals.
3. Just do it! I spent years thinking about the what ifs. Not helpful thinking at all. You’ll never know how successful you’ll be until you have the confidence to try it.
Your compositions lend themselves well to large-format prints. What are the options available on your Etsy shop?
I would love to be able to offer large-format prints, but the images themselves (I shoot with film or my iPhone) are too small to print at that size. The options available are either 4×4, 5×5, 8×8, 10×10, or 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, 11×14.
And now that your Etsy shop is open for business, what are your future plans as a photographer?
I’m going to continue to add more images to sell as prints, and I’d love to offer more products, too. I want to push myself creatively and work on more projects, take on more client work. Currently, I’m working on releasing a collection of my work from the past couple years with a narrative — the unknown stories — included in it. Stay tuned!
All photos courtesy of