What’s your story?  Describe your practise in a nutshell.

In a nutshell, I have always been obsessed with music and traveling, and my work is the result of my attempt to incorporate these two passions into my professional life. Photography has always been my way to capture the world around me and to express myself creatively but it took me a while to look at it as a profession. I think it wasn’t until I was granted an artist visa here in America, that I finally said, “hey, maybe I am an artist.” I still shoot everything I can, but now I’m starting to make more conscious decisions to make my passion a little more profitable.

What advice would you give to someone wishing to turn an artistic passion into a career?

Go for it!  In my experience the most important thing is believing in yourself and in the uniqueness of your work. Find inspiration in other people but don’t get caught up in trying to become them. Then whatever it is that you want to do, tell everyone around you. I started telling people I was a writer and photographer as soon as I got my first piece published and people believed I had years of experience. That’s how you start to build a network. I also think today your online presence is invaluable and it should reflect the work you want to do. Another important thing is, whenever you fail you need to move past it and not look back. Never look back. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Keep working and you will inevitably get better.

What draws you most to the places you photograph?

I can’t even explain it. There is something about nature and landscapes that really fulfills me; just being there, seeing it. And it’s kind of frustrating too, because no matter how beautiful the photo is, it never holds a candle to actually being there. I can be very cheesy when it comes to sunsets and landscapes, because I feel they give meaning to my existence in a way. They really put everything into perspective.

I did a two-month road trip in 2013 and in completely changed my life; it reminded me that there are some truly kind people out there and that the world is right there, waiting for you to go see it. I remember before I left I was caught up in this idea that New York was the centre of the universe, and after I came back it was like, um there is an entire planet out there; there is life outside this island, and there are people being happy in the middle of nowhere.

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Tell us about your favourite adventure.

The number one dream of my life for as long as I can remember was to see the Northern Lights, so on a drunken night in NY I decided with some friends we would go to Iceland and booked the tickets the next morning. Once there my best friend and I rented a car and spent the days driving through Iceland’s spectacular landscapes. I was mind blown. One day we drove to these hidden hot springs in the middle of the mountains; we parked the car in the middle of nowhere and had to hike for about twenty minutes through a completely deserted area to find them. After that, we drove to a black sand beach to see the sunset, and that night we parked at the top of a mountain to wait for the lights. They had told us it was too cloudy and we were not likely to see them. It took about an hour and a half but finally the Aurora appeared big and bright in the black night and followed us for the entire three-hour drive back to hour hotel. It was one of the best days of my life. It’s hard to choose one because it is really easy to be stuck in an adventure when you’re on the road, but this day will definitely stay with me always. I just felt very thankful for being alive.

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What photographic equipment do you use?  Do you find yourself having to compromise on the equipment you take when traveling?

I have a collection of film cameras, most of which I’ve thrifted. My favorite one is a Nikon FM2. It was my first SLR film camera and I absolutely adore it. I also have some 120mm, some polaroids and some point and shoots. My favorite polaroid is a Land 250 that I got on ebay. And yes, I struggle when I travel because they are all very different and I like each for very specific purposes, but when traveling I try to bring only two. It’s always a hard choice.

Which photographers inspire you?

I’ve been a huge fan of Francesca Woodman for a long time. I also love the polaroids of Guy Bourdin and the work of Tim Walker. As for younger photographers, I’m a big fan of Ryan McGinley, Neil Krug and Amanda Charchian.

What do you do to relax?

I’m usually reading or listening to music. Also, this year I started swimming, which has been great so far.

What music are you most obsessed with at the moment?

I interviewed Palma Violets last week and have been listening to them since, the new record Danger In The Club is great! Right now I’m also into The Growlers and I’m obsessed with Sufjan Stevens’ last album, Carrie and Lowell; he wrote it for his mother who passed away and it’s just too beautiful.

What’s your favourite place to visit? What’s your favourite place to photograph?

I don’t really have a favourite place to visit; I’m more into finding new places, but I would love to go back to Iceland as soon as possible. I love landscape photography so any place with a view is great for me. I’m also obsessed with sunsets – cheesy, but true.

Show us your favourite sunset photo. Tell us about it.

Oh God, that’s so hard. Maybe this one? I took it at the Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. One of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my life. It’s magical. The photo of me was taken by my friend Ady, we just sat there and watched the sunset and realized how very lucky we were.

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What’s the most important thing photography has taught you about yourself?
The most important thing photography has taught me is that I am an artist. I’ve also learned that it’s important to be passionate about what you do and that there is always room for improvement. They say “Practice makes perfect,” but I think practice makes you better. I think there is no such thing as “perfect”.

You can see more of Francesca’s work at francescabeltran.com