I am extremely delighted to introduce a brand new feature to Pennyweight today... and we're kicking it right off with my friend, Austin Gros! I am always incredibly intrigued by personal style, creative spaces and the places we each call home. My hope is to introduce - or reacquaint - you with some amazing people that inspire me on a daily basis.
Austin Gros has lived in Louisiana, Texas, New York City and now calls Nashville home. He is an incredible photographer (and he'll be shooting most of this series!) and specializes in wedding photography. We used to work in the corporate world together, but I am now grateful to call him friend, neighbor and fellow freelancer.
How would you describe your personal style?
I'd probably describe my personal style as "cohesive eclectic." In my home, I feel there is a pretty wide variety of pieces & styles - from mid-century to vintage to fairly modern. I want to be interested visually in the things I look at everyday, so I buy & decorate with that in mind. I want pieces that are comfortable & don't just look cool - like that retro couch your friend has that looks awesome but feels like you're sitting on cinder blocks. Except for my couch & bed, most everything in my home is from a flea market, resale shop or Craigslist. It's way more exciting to hunt for cool stuff & have a story for each piece, rather than "Yeah, I bought that at Target."
As far as clothing goes, I just wear what's comfortable to me. I buy a lot of shoes & shirts used, but I typically buy something & wear it until it falls apart - then it's time to go shopping.
What are your most treasured pieces in your home or closet?
Probably the portrait I created of my dog, Desmond. I wanted a way to honor him in my home that was more impressive than a framed photo. I love old royal portraits, so I worked some Photoshop magic, had the image printed on a four foot canvas & mounted in the most ornate gold frame I could find. It's always entertaining to watch people's expressions when they walk in the front door & see that staring at them. Also, I just splurged & bought a pair of Billy Reid boots a few months ago. Definitely my favorite clothing designer, but I can't afford anything unless it's on sale. These boots live on my feet.
What do you love most about living in Nashville?
I think what I love most about Nashville is the community. There is an incredible amount of unbelievably talented people here - musicians, writers, photographers, freelancers - doing really amazing things. It doesn't feel as competitive or "dog eat dog" like in LA or New York. The people in your field are your close, genuine friends & are in community with one another - not your competitors. It's a really special place that I love living in.
How do you foster creativity in your life?
Because so many of my friends are in creative fields, I get pushed & motivated by seeing what they're doing & achieving. Everyone in Nashville loves helping each other out & sharing ideas, so it's an environment that's really conducive to creativity. When I hear the music that my friends are making or see the art that my peers are creating, it gets the wheels turning in my head to try & create something that's better than the previous thing I did.
What advice do you have for aspiring photographers or freelancers?
If I could give advice to these people, it would be to "ask questions." I learned a lot from just shooting & figuring it out, but a huge component in being able to quit my corporate job & become full-time was through the help & guidance of other photographers. Assisting, e-mailing people you look up to & asking for advice & critique absolutely jump-started my career. I think people are more open to sharing ideas than some may think, so just ask! What's the worst that could happen?