Kayla Varley‘s photography reels you into a spontaneous, but intentional space, where every photograph feels like a poignant moment in her life. This passionate young artist is building up her portfolio at an impressive pace, shooting editorials and campaigns alongside a team of likeminded friends & creatives while traveling around her native state of California.
She thrives on the philosophy that time spent not being creative is time wasted. You can catch all of her Live Fast Mag editorials here; we can’t get enough of her work! Enjoy the interview and learn more about her fascinating journey below…
LF: Do you remember the first subject(s) you became obsessed with taking pictures of?
KV: I was maybe 13 and I started taking a lot of self portraits, a lot of deep stuff that wasn’t very ‘good’ but meant a lot to me. They were very personal and had a lot to do with the moods I struggled with as a child.
LF: How would you describe your photographic style?
KV: This is kind of a hard question- I guess I love thinking about my youth and I love empowering women. My style is simple – I love really getting to know people.
LF: Who are some of your mentors, artists who particularly inspire you?
KV: I admire a lot of photographers, mostly females- Jeurgen Teller, Ryan McGinley, Sally Mann, Nan Goldin, Diane Arbus, Lauren Greenfield.
LF: How did you and Evan meet, and how do you approach creative collaboration in the context of a romantic relationship?
KVL Evan and I met when I was 19 through Facebook and we decided to go on a date – although I didn’t think it was a real date at the time! I instantly was in love, he was cool, we talked for hours. He also wasn’t trying to sleep with me, which was seriously refreshing. He was interested in me and my photography. We watched Bio-Dome and cuddled and the rest is history. He is such a great photographer and friend, someone I would never want to live without.
His creativity turns me on, it’s sexy you know – making shit together. It’s difficult at times to really let my guard down and shoot with him because he has his own opinion about how things should be done but that’s the fun of it- we’re always trying to impress each other, so we’re constantly pushing one another to step out
LF: How often do you step our of your comfort zone to be creative?
KV: I step out of my comfort zone every time I shoot. I’m not an outgoing person. I’d rather stay at home all day and stay in my bubble but when I force myself to create, I end up in really awesome circumstances and relationships. Life just gives back more.
LF: What’s the worst thing that happened to you on a shoot that ended up as a positive?
KV: I once came to a set and was second shooter – was really bummed at the time but it ended up being one of my favorite shoots, made great friends and I took images I’ll never forget.
LF: You deal with beauty on a daily basis. Does that naturally lead to narcissism?
KV: I think narcissism and self-love are two different things. To me, beauty isn’t about the way someone looks. It’s the way a woman carries herself. I really love women who can love themselves unconditionally and I try to empower them when I photograph them. I think being aware of your beauty can lend to narcissism but at the end of the day I think it’s more about if you can feel comfortable in your skin- and if you love who you are, then that’s wonderful.
LF: Is your approach to photographing women different than your approach to photographing men?
KV: It’s definitely two separate worlds. Women bring out a side of me that just isn’t the same with men. When I take a photo of a female, I’m giving her strength and I’m lifting her up. She knows she’s beautiful and she knows I love the way she looks. When I shoot a male I’m usually chilling and talking him through the session- I can’t tell a guy how gorgeous and sexy he is without feeling super silly.
LF: How do you feel about Los Angeles right now?
KV: I love L.A., going on almost 5 years here now. I’m finally making friends that are like-minded and spiritual. It took a lot of time but I love calling this place home.
LF: What’s your biggest photographer’s fantasy?
KV: Honestly? I just see a bunch of naked girls in my head.
LF: If you could give men one piece of dating advice, what would it be?
KV: Sex often. I’m serious too, some relationships I’ve had became stale because we weren’t trying to turn each other on anymore.
LF: When are you happiest?
KV: I’m happiest after a long yoga class. The time spent alone does wonders for my brain- sometimes I get caught up in my moods and I get really depressed. Yoga centers my soul.
LF: What’s next for you?
KV: I’m hoping to get a rep and travel the world. A book could possibly be in the works.
LF: How fast do you live?
KV: Faster than I’d like! I want to slow down and appreciate things more.