The next Have You Met? interview is with performer and photographer Libby Christensen.
What’s your name? Where do you come from and where do you live now?
Hello! My name is Libby, I’m originally from a tiny village by the sea in South Wales, but I have lived in London for the last 15 years, so this is where I call home.
Tell us who you are and what you do?
What age did you start performing? What did 5 year old Libby want to be?
You have what I like to call a ‘Parallel Career’ as a photographer. how is it having a side career that you are also passionate about? Has it helped with your performance career?
I feel incredibly fortunate to have a parallel career (love that term by the way – much nicer than ‘sideline’ which implies it is less important!) that I am passionate about, there was definitely a time when I didn’t think I ever would. Performing professionally is hard primarily because no matter how good you are or how proactive you are, your fate ultimately lies in someone else’s hands.
It’s wonderful to have a job that I feel I have a little bit more control over. I have always been very artistic and used to think that if I didn’t go to drama school I would like to be an illustrator, so it feels right that I have come back to a visual art form. Photography has helped my performing career in that it has helped to keep me stimulated, creative, curious, proactive and organised. I have definitely seen the benefits of a parallel career the other way around too, as I know a lot of actors, who know actors who want headshots and portfolio shoots (and who are getting married!), so it has been relatively easy to get my name out there. I’ve even shot the production photos of shows I’ve been in during the interval – in my costume!!
Do you feel that by coming from a performance background you are able to help performers feel more relaxed at their headshot/portfolio session?
Oh absolutely, as a headshot photographer I understand exactly how it feels to be in my client’s shoes. I also remember all the pros and cons of the various headshot sessions I have had and try to apply these to my shoots accordingly.My acting training and experience has also been hugely beneficial to me as a wedding photographer, which I didn’t really anticipate when I started out. Over the years I have become accustomed to being thrown into new casts, new social circles and new situations, often for limited periods of time, so I’ve learned how to embrace talking to strangers and make friends fast – something that can not be underestimated on a wedding day (especially for a natural born introvert like me)! You have to very quickly integrate yourself with the couple and the guests in order to get the best, most intimate and natural shots.
What has been your best and/or worst audition?
Tell us something that you love about the place you live in?
Well, apart from the fact that London is wonderfully liberal, welcoming, multicultural, vibrant and creative, the thing I love most about where I live, is that my flat is mine. My husband and I bought our first home last year without any help, as two self employed artists (he is an actor) – and that is something I am really very proud of! It can be done! Rather aptly, it is also the product of having a parallel career – I saved my half of the deposit as an actor and got my mortgage as a photographer. I think that’s pretty cool 🙂
Do you have any quotes you live by?
Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
Ooo… living in a Georgian Town House by the sea with my husband and loads of Danish furniture! Seriously, I’d love to focus on my photography and grow my business so that I have more control over my life and my time (..and can buy more scandi furniture!)
You’ve tour with the show Rat Pack live From las Vegas and performed on cruise ships. Do you love traveling with work or are you glad to be in one city at the moment?
I have been incredibly fortunate to travel to some amazing places that I would never have had the opportunity to visit were it not for my job and I will forever be grateful for that. I had so much fun on tour, so I’m really glad I did it and I would 100% recommend that everyone tries a cruise ship contract at least once! It’s not for everyone, but you don’t know unless you try and you learn so much about yourself in the process! But touring is exhausting and it can be tough to be away from your loved ones for extended periods of time.I worked away from home for a long time. It was fun and exciting and eye opening, but as I get older I find that my priorities are changing, so now it’s someone else turn! So, although I definitely hope to keep travelling and adventuring – and to shoot more destination weddings! – I’m thoroughly enjoying being in one place right now and have no intention of going on tour again any time soon.