Guestagrammer of the Week: Alison Harbaugh
Momenta welcomes this week’s guestagrammer, Alison Harbaugh
Owner of Sugar Farm Productions (photography and video) and Co-owner of ArtFarm (gallery, classroom, studio)
Connection to Momenta:
I was a student on the India trip in Feb. 2011
Tell us about your journey as an image-maker and how you got to where you are today.
I think I was always determined to be a photographer. Growing up in a small town in PA, I didn’t have a lot around to inspire me to pursue it as a career so I went to school in Philadelphia to study Graphic Design. I studied photography in college independently and tried to incorporate it into most of my projects which thankfully my teachers supported. I spent my Senior year working on a photo book/essay of two boxers in North Philly, this 80 page photo book, along with interviews was my ticket into my first photography job in Annapolis, MD at the US Naval Academy where I became the assistant photographer for the Athletic Dept. After two years there, I was offered a job at the local newspaper where I remained for 3 years. Those 5 years taught me a lot about working with people and storytelling and I pushed for more. In 2007 I left the paper and stared my first company, Freckle Photography where I spent the next few years photographing families, weddings and stories. I realized pretty quickly that I was not 100% happy being a lifestyle photographer and set the gears in motion to reinvent the company and start focusing on documentary, editorial and event work as well as adding video to my skill set. Today, I run Sugar Farm Productions, a photo and video production company where I document small businesses, non profits and create artist profile pieces.
What stories or issues are you most passionate about covering?
I love working with other artists and musicians to show their process or tell their stories of how and why they create what they do. I also love working with non profit organizations to communicate their individual messages – I definitely am looking to take on a passion project next year so that I can expand my work and travel again.
Where do you look for inspiration for your work: books, movies, authors, photographers, art, certain people?
I am a documentary junkie and love watching anything that is filmed beautifully and communicates a great story. Right now I am drooling over Chef’s Table with the incredible lighting and great profile pieces on chefs around the world. I also get inspiration from reading biographies – I’m reading Gloria Steinem’s book right now “My Life on the Road”, and it’s giving me some great insight into how to work with people to create change.
What social media or news feeds do you follow regularly?
I can’t say I regularly follow anything, I have been so busy with my new business (ArtFarm) that I haven’t had much time to explore online but I do love pieces by Brain Pickings, and Colossal, I’m finding myself drawn to art driven blogs and posts lately and less photography – I feel like if I look at too much of what other photographers are doing I can get bogged down and frozen – looking at art sparks new ideas. I also really enjoy listening to This American Life and Filmmakers Drinking Bourbon.
What is one passion you have outside of photography that might come as a surprise to our readers?
Teaching. Three years ago I started a camp called Fearless Girls Photography Camp. I started it to teach young girls how to “own their image” and be proud of themselves and their art. Photography is really just a tool to get them to think outside the box, connect to community and become strong women – if they get that message, I’m happy, if they become great photographers, I’m ecstatic. The group is now growing and we meet once a month at ArtFarm (my studio space) as well as have camps throughout the year. It’s only just beginning and I find great joy in teaching and sharing the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
What can we expect to see this week from your guestagramming on our Momenta Instagram account?
Good question. I don’t have any current work that I am super passionate about because I have been so focused on building ArtFarm and the Fearless Girls program. I think I will show a different aspect of my journey each day, starting with my work I did in India with Momenta.
#seizethemomenta, and follow @momentaworkshops on Instagram to see Alison’s great work!
About the author…
Jen May Pastores
Jen May Pastores is a research and development team member and content developer at Momenta Workshops. Her expertise is in visual communications and social media.