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How I became a photographer
When I was 7 years old, my second-grade teacher brought in her photographer husband into class. That day at recess, I went up to my teacher and said, “Mrs. Morrow, when I grow up I want to be a photographer.” She looked down at me sweetly and replied, “Kristen, you can be anything you want to be.” It was then and there that I decided I was going to be a photographer.
I got my first camera when I was eleven years old. I spent the next decade or so taking pictures for fun, but eventually landed a job working for a popular “alternative” clothing company where I mindlessly shot photos of belt buckles and t-shirts for three years. I did, however, get to meet David Hasselhoff, Elvira, Tiger Army, and Paramore. It was, to say the least, a good learning experience. After that, I found myself shooting headshots, portraits (corporate and family), events, and occasionally product for small businesses. I started getting wedding photo gigs and it took off. It was fun for a while, but it wasn’t what I really wanted to be doing. I began to reconsider my path.
How I became a writer
Around the same time I fell in love with photography, that same lovely second-grade teacher read us a most amazing story. It was All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury. That day, I not only became a hardcore Bradbury fan (I’ve met him four times, have been in the same room with him two other times and kissed his cheek once), but I also decided I wanted to be a writer. I wrote short stories and comics for fun. In high-school, I started to get serious about it. I wrote a story about a girl who accidentally kills her mother and everyone thought I had mental problems. I was put into therapy. Not kidding. At the time, I mostly wrote what could today be classified as Young Adult stories. They were ridiculous and cheesy.
In my ’20s I buckled down on an ancient word processor and wrote a real, live novel. It was terrible and embarrassing (not in a charming way) so I threw it away. It was also in my ’20s that I started branching out into writing music reviews. Back in the day before Pitchfork, Stereogum and the like, I ran a small music e-zine. I worked myself sick for about ten years making no money and suffering. It included several volunteer staff writers and a music-oriented podcast – long before anyone knew what a podcast was. I even got to interview some of my musical idols and got into concerts for free. It was glorious but fruitless. Around the time I gave up on the e-zine, I started to shift focus back to photography, but with a real intent to make a living at it. Which leads us back around to writing. One night I had a vivid dream and wrote it down. It sounded like an awesome story so I started writing it for real. The rest is still in progress…
Not a lot of my old writing is still online. Here’s what I could find.
- Online Marketing for Photographers: The Lessons I Paid For 2012.
- A review of Neurotically Yours (comic book) 2003 (as Mistress Cinka)
- That time my (ex) boyfriend and I interviewed Steve Severin from Siouxsie and The Banshees for Dark Culture Magazine. (as Cinka) May 2000.
- Never to Meat Again – an article on vegetarianism for Morbid Outlook. May 2006. (as Mistress Cinka)
Other Old Stuff:
- Quoted and written about in The goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined (as Mistress Cinka) 2004.
- My photo of our old house in the Los Angeles Times. In the print version, the credit was given to someone else. Lame. June 2010.
- Several of my polaroids were included in a community art project called Instant Gratification: PolaroidPartyLA as well as in the book that followed: Still Developing: A Story of Instant Gratification January 2011.