L.A. photographer Molly Stone‘s dreamy fashion portraits, depicting quiet, reflective & intimate moments amidst the earth’s elements, creatively fit the bill for both the fine art and commercial sides of photography. Her inclination toward softer light and the intense emotional stillness she gets from her subjects reel the viewer in. So strong, so free.
LF: When did you first pick up a camera?
MS: When I was super young I used to steal my dad’s old pentax camera and pretend to shoot photos of random things around the yard and my dogs.
LF: Tell me about where you are from, and how Cali affects your aesthetics.
MS: I grew up in Vista which some say is the armpit of San Diego. It’s filled with skaters, soccer moms, hippies and white trash. Kind of a strange combo, but I liked it. San Diego was a great place to start shooting because everything from mountains to the beach is in reaching distance and no one really cares if you are shooting on their property. There are so many hidden gems there.
LF: What is it about photographing nature? There is a certain wilderness to your work.
MS: Although I rarely seem to shoot straight landscapes, I am obsessed with backgrounds showing nature. It adds a type of mood that is impossible to recreate in a studio or a city scape. The best feeling in the world is being in the middle of no where, where its super still and quiet. Places that are untouched have so much depth and feeling.
LF: Your last exhibited series is heavily charged with symbolism. Where did you find these skulls?
MS: My friends BB Bastidas and Richie Belton created these skulls. They are absolutely stunning. The photos really do no justice to how detailed they are. I was over at BB’s house one night when he was working on the skulls and I had a vision of two chicks holding the skulls over their lady parts and then it just took off from there. I wish I had more of a story behind it, but basically I just wanted to put the skulls in places one wouldn’t expect them to be. Kind of bring them to life in a way.
LF: Tell me about how the shoot happened.
I was at a family birthday party in San Diego the week before. On the way back to the car my dad saw a hole in fence so we walked though it and found the most amazing open field. I had driven past it thousands of times on the freeway, but never knew how to get to the other side. On the day of the shoot a friend and I discovered a blocked off area next to the field. The ground was dry and cracked and almost looked like we were either going sink a few feet or get murdered by someone standing behind a bush. It was totally bizarre but it seemed to work. I styled the shoot myself and Lauren Breckenridge did hair.
LF: How do you get inspired? Who’s your muse?
Music. Horses. Trees. Silence and being alone. My mom. Love. Dreaming. Birds. Friends. I’m kinda in-between muses. I go though fazes of shooting my friends. They all have different personalities and are unique in their own ways, so picking just one would just be limiting.
LF: Who are your biggest photography influences? Who do you feel you’ve learned from the most?
Sarah Moon and Guy Bourdin. I have learned the most from Melanie Willhide. She taught me that the only way to progress is to push boundaries and to think about my work on a deeper level.
LF: How did you come up with the Circus Nudes series?
MS: I am obsessed with the connection between people and animals. The similarities between the two is something that usually goes unnoticed. When I shot the animals I found that their form had a human quality so I paired them with nudes to show the similarities. The animals were from a really awful traveling circus. I followed it to a few different locations and I would sneak them carrots. I felt that the only way to pair them was with naked chicks to show that the animals were just there so people could stare at them. It’s so fucked up to me how people use caged up animals as a source of entertainment.
LF: What do you find attractive in the opposite sex?
MS: I love how guys can grow beards and can pick you up (not so sexy when they can’t). Their hands. They don’t waste as much time thinking about things that don’t really matter.
LF: What do you find attractive in the same sex?
MS: Chicks are way more sexy than guys. Girls have a sexy and fluid way of moving. Long Hair. And I love when chicks don’t put up with shit.