We had the good fortune of connecting with Adrienne Hulme and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adrienne, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I have been making art possibly since I came out of the womb, and taking photos since I was 9 years old. It was always something that I just loved to do and was a part of who I am. My parents were very supportive of me making art, but they told me that I didn’t want to be a starving artist, and since I was good at math too, they pushed me to pursue something more stable as a career. When I went to college, I had tried to figure out something that I thought would use both, and in my mind being a mechanical engineer and designing cars was going to be the thing. But I didn’t actually know any engineers or have any engineering background, so besides not really grasping what it would actually be like, I was starting way behind everyone else. I gave up on engineering after 2 1/2 years and just switched my major to math so it wouldn’t take forever to get my degree, then entered the corporate world. I graduated in the middle of the 2008-2009 recession, so I couldn’t find any of the supposedly great jobs I could get with a math degree, and just worked first at a bank then an insurance company. Meanwhile, I was still doing photography, since I had never stopped, and basically spending all my non working hours doing photography stuff. I was mildly active in the art world in Portland, OR, where I lived at the time, and based on positive feedback on my photos from friends and family, decided to start selling them. This meant that I was spending ALL my free time doing photography/business stuff, which I loved but was really draining. The most draining though was my desk job that sucked the life out of me. I got married and quit my job to move to San Diego, and realized that financial security was overrated if I was just going to spend my whole life dying inside. I decided that being happy and fulfilled was way more important, and focused all my energy on doing my photography when I moved down here! I still haven’t made it sustainable on its own yet, but I picked up little side jobs that don’t drain my soul and energy so that I can focus my energy on making beautiful things that make me (and hopefully others) happy.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What used to set me apart was that I never took photos of people, and most people that do any sort of photography do take photos of people. I liked to capture the beauty that I saw in ordinary objects and scenes around me, paying special attention to light, composition, texture, color, etc. Ironically, after over 20 year of that, now all I want to do is take photos of people. Also ironically, I decided this right before a pandemic in which I’m not supposed to be near people. So currently I’m way out of my comfort zone and trying new things, but also having to be very creative. I’ve been doing self portraits, on film, which is difficult to say the least. Things are definitely very different now for me artistically and professionally than in the past, and I’m probably in what would be considered a transition period. I now have to figure out what to do with the completely different photos that I am shooting now. So I definitely don’t have everything figured out and am almost starting over. I will say though that one of the hardest things to overcome that is still applicable today was becoming “A Photographer” after just shooting as a hobby my entire life and not having any classes or professional training. When I first started selling photos, I was pretty insecure. I also was mainly selling photos that I took on my iPhone, and I was selling them in person so people would ask me how I took them, and I would be embarrassed to tell them. There was one older gentleman that I will never forget, because when I told them I took the photos with my phone, he said, “so anyone could take these photos then.” I was really taken aback and couldn’t think of a good response, so I think I just agreed. But I thought about it a lot after that, and finally came to the realization that you could say that about any gear. If the gear was the only thing that mattered, then anyone could buy expensive professional cameras and lenses and everything else and be a professional photographer. But what I realized was that wasn’t true, it’s the eye of the photographer that matters, and not everyone could take photos like mine. And that helped me to finally accept the fact that I did have some skill, and I could just go ahead and say I was “A Photographer”.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ha, well, currently life is quite different, and I don’t do the things I used to. It’s hard to even remember what life was like before this pandemic! But there are so many amazing things in San Diego and still some stuff to do that isn’t closed, so I’ll try to remember some of my favorite things and include some that can still be done now! So obviously a must-do in San Diego is go to the beach. My favorite beach is Coronado, because it’s one of the first places I went to when I visited before I lived here, and the first place I lived when I moved here. It’s also a GORGEOUS beach, and you can always find parking somewhere, and there’s gold in the sand! Other must-do daytime activities are the San Diego Zoo and/or Safari Park; I recommend both for different reasons. Plus if you go to the zoo, you have to go to Balboa Park. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the city. Check out all the museums and the gardens, but don’t forget Spanish Village Art Center! A lot of people don’t even know it exists, but it’s right between the zoo and the rest of Balboa Park, is super cute, and there are a ton of artists working in the students there and selling their art. I am biased because I used to be in a studio there and am still a member, but it really is a hidden gem of San Diego. For another day, I would recommend a day trip to Julian, or out to the desert (or both on different days)! One of the things I love about San Diego is how close we are to all these amazing and unique areas. And since I’m from the Pacific Northwest, the desert is beautiful and fascinating to me. Julian is a fun, cute little town with delicious pies and cider, and the desert is fun to explore and take photos in. I could go on with more stuff to do, but I’ll move on to another thing I love…food and drinks! There are SO MANY great places here so I can’t even list everything I love, plus a lot of them have closed recently. But to start with, I’d say definitely a brunch at Morning Glory is necessary, and if you want lots of brunch, I’d add Farmer’s Bottega, Queenstown Public House, and Great Maple to the list. For the other meals of the day, some of my other favorite places are Rei do Gado for all you can eat, delicious Brazilian steaks, Cafe 21 for great unique dishes and the best rotating sangrias (get the flight), City Tacos for street tacos but with a delicious foodie twist, Havana 1920 for a great Gaslamp Quarter vibe and some amazing Cuban food, and Barrio Star for secretly some of the best buffalo wings you’ve had, plus delicious tacos and great margaritas. I could go on forever really, but you won’t read this if it’s too long so I’m leaving off a lot of the ones that everyone already knows are great. One more I can’t leave off though is Venissimo and Bottlecraft in North Park, a trip there for a little cheese appetizer and a great selection of beer and other drinks is a must. For after dinner drinks (or happy hour), we’d have to hit up Polite Provisions, Kindred, Campfire, Bivouac, Common Theory, definitely a speakeasy so let’s go with 52 Remedies, and Rustic Root and the Nolen for rooftop bars. And the one other thing that I can’t leave off is some gelato at Bobboi! Now this is actually paining me with the number of AMAZING places I can’t keep adding on here so maybe just hit me up if you need more recommendations, or if we’re talking about my best friend that’s visiting, I’d just tell them to stay here forever!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate this to my parents, who although they pushed me to do something more reasonable in school, they have always supported my art and are still very proud of everything I’ve been doing with my photography even though I mostly wasted my degree haha. Also to my husband who wishes I would make more money but wants me to be happy more than anything.