Meet Kristin Barlowe, a well-respected, Nashville-based photographer and director of hundreds of music videos. She has seen Nashville grow as a city while her craft — the capturing of images — has also changed dramatically. Creative, talented and gracious, Kristin is a true FACE of Nashville.
Were you always the person behind the lens, or is your perspective honed by knowing what it’s like on the other side, as well?
I was a model first, a very accidental happening, really, as are most of those kinds of things. So that most certainly shaped my approach to those people I shoot. Some people (and, in fact, most people) don’t feel that comfortable in front of the camera, and I understand this from a very real place.
As a director of music videos, how have they changed from when you first started working on them?
Everything in terms of capturing an image has changed. Be it still or motion. Digital technology has really changed it all. We used to shoot film, which was really awesome, making certain choices and committing to them all in. Looking back, it had an almost indescribable edge to it … you had to know your s**t. Also, the budgets were bigger, so sometimes one could pitch an idea for a far off place or build some insane kind of sets. Where they are watched is also so different. Remember when MTV played videos? What you once thought would play on a big TV screen is now seen mostly on an iPhone or iPad. It’s all different, and yet very much the same. I would say I am lucky to have been a part of both times.
Imagine we were all from some place else. What would you say about Nashville and why it is getting so much attention these days?
Nashville at its core is kind, creative and eclectic in all things. That heart of Nashville is what I love best. A little big town. It can feel like “home” in a heartbeat no matter where you are from. That being said, I am a bit torn right now with all that is going on physically to Nashville. The core of what makes Nashville unique is being stripped away and replaced by this very vanilla, strip mall, “The OC”, blah kind of landscape and mentality in some regards. Neighborhoods and neighbors are being replaced by people stacked upon people and the ease of the nearest franchise at your doorstep. What makes Nashville special are the pockets of different places around town, the local flavor, if you will. Some call it gentrification I call it vanillization. It’s so totally sad and I think people should start getting seriously vocal before it’s gone.
When you first knew that you were shooting for a cover of a magazine, was the pressure to get the perfect shot any different?
Perfect is such a odd word for me. I think there a lots of perfect shots depending on who is judging it. But sure, the first anything brings a certain amount of excitement and nerves, I suppose.
What do you feel about the “everyone is a photographer” mentality today? Does this actually earn you more respect, because your photos are so fabulous and more people recognize how hard this is, or has it made for a more competitive environment?
Respect is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. I do what I do and I am confident in that and what I bring to a client. There is a lot more to a shoot than just pushing the trigger. It’s much more than that, really.
If you could expand your career into another direction, what would it be?
I don’t know … I suppose in terms of filmmaking maybe do something that was more of a narrative short or a fine art concept. Outside of film, I love buildings and spaces so doing something with that would be exciting and fun.
Is there someone who you consider a mentor?
If you had asked me a year ago, the answer would have been different than today. But today I know who that is, and it would be my mom. She died last August and I did not realize how much she was my mentor until she wasn’t there for advice on just life stuff. She was a great mom.
Can you name a favorite indulgence?
Cookies and milk and overpriced foreign magazines.
What books are currently found on your nightstand or e-reader?
Sadly, nothing cracked open but The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi looks really interesting.
Do you have any fears?
Not seeing my kids grow up.
Where was your last, best meal in Nashville?
Mas Tacos. I may go there after I finish this interview in fact.
What is one piece that is a must-have for your summer wardrobe.
A pair of leather sandals to go with anything.
Name three things you can’t live without, excluding God, family and friends.
Besides water, food and oxygen … Coffee, trees and a good hug.
Thank you, Kristin!
Special thanks to Ashley Hylbert for today’s gorgeous photos. www.ashleyhylbert.com
Check out more of our interview with Kristin in Nashville Lifestyles’ June issue. Pick it up today! www.nashvillelifestyles.com