We had the good fortune of connecting with Sharisse Coulter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sharisse, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
This too shall pass. It’s what my grandmother used to say to me—as a comfort when times were difficult and as a gentle reminder not to take the good for granted. I’ve always appreciated that duality, the way we wish for time to expand or contract, especially when experiencing extremes. But I also think about it in my day to day life, in an effort to recognize that all of these seemingly inconsequential moments, when they’re all added up, whether they bring comfort or pain, will make up the entirety of my life. And I think that’s partly why I love doing what I do. In capturing moments and feelings in photos, videos and stories, I get to choose little time capsules to hold onto, and help others to do the same. It’s a reminder that every moment counts.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started out my photography career in music, shooting promos, live concerts, music videos and album covers. It evolved pretty organically, but I had a lot to learn. It required a lot of flexibility and creative agility, which has been sometimes frustrating and other times incredible. I have loved working with many talented artists, locally and internationally known, and it opened up a world of opportunity, travel and creative freedom that I can’t imagine getting any other way. More recently, however, as all of that has been put on hold during the pandemic, I’ve gotten to explore a new love—digital composites. Instead of just shooting beautiful images, I take multiple elements from different images and then combine them into a new creation built from my imagination. It is a way to add magical storytelling to back to school photos, empowering portraiture, creative family portraits, holiday cards and pet portraits. Especially with kids, they grow up so fast and go through so many stages of interests. With digital composites I not only get to capture them as they are now, but by putting them in a world of their own imagining, I get to capture the bigger story of WHO they are right now. I like to think that whether I’m working with individuals, families or companies, compositing allows for a deeper level of storytelling. Artistically, it delights me to get to use all sorts of tricks and techniques to ultimately reveal a more authentic telling of that story. My favorite compliment is when a client comes back to me and says that I’ve captured the version of themselves that THEY see. We all want to be seen. To me, that is the most powerful thing any photographer can do and my constant aspiration.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If we’re talking about a pre-pandemic visit, I would start off with a brunch at Claire’s in Solana Beach and a little wander down Cedros to check out the design district. No visit to San Diego would be complete without a few beach trips, so we’d have to make time for Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, Torrey Pines State Beach and maybe some kayaking or seal watching at La Jolla Cove. It would be great to walk around and have dinner in Little Italy followed by a concert at Music Box. And as a delightful dessert spot, Salt and Straw has the best ice cream so I would insist on checking out their new flavors of the month. Heading back up to North County, I would get some Cardiff Crack tacos at Seaside Market, have a glass of wine at Carruth Cellars Urban Winery and then check out at show at Belly Up. A trip to Balboa Park would definitely be in order, whether there was an event taking place, a new museum exhibit to check out or the zoo, it’s an iconic part of the San Diego experience. And with any trip, my favorite thing is to leave space for spontaneous adventures. In San Diego there is always something new and interesting happening, whether art, music, beach or food related and I wouldn’t want my friend to miss out.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been lucky to work with many wonderful people over the years, but the individual and organization that has brought me the most joy and connection is Melissa Grove, Founder of Rock’n Roll Camp For Girls San Diego. I have been privileged to work with this nonprofit since its inception and through the connections I’ve made there I have been gifted so much opportunity, both professionally and personally. I cannot begin to count the ways Melissa Grove has impacted my life and career. I am eternally grateful for her.
Sharisse Coulter Photography