If you haven't come across Karolyn of The Briley Birds' minimalist photography, then you're truly missing out. Between juggling her career as a lifestyle photographer and mother of her adorable Charlie June, she runs her own Instagram page devoted to the art of motherhood, slow living and of course - minimalist photography.
This week, in our Sustainable Influencer Series, we interview Karolyn about family, slow living style and her interest in fair trade, ethical fashion.
Plus - make sure to revisit this post at the beginning of November! We'll be running an amazing lifestyle, eco-conscious giveaway with Karolyn, as well as some other brands!
Why did you start @thebrileybirds?
I started @thebrileybirds shortly after the birth of our daughter, Charlie June, as a way to document our journey as a new family together and connect with the incredibly supportive and inspiring community I have found since becoming a mother.
You’re also a lifestyle photographer! How would you describe your photography?
Yes, I am, over on @karolynbriley! I feel like my style has evolved over the years and is just truly settling into a moody, more candid look at everyday life. I love capturing those caught off-guard moments and seeing the beauty behind a moment that might typically be overlooked. My personal aesthetic leans more towards minimalism and I feel it translates well into my photography with a moody contrast of black and white and toned down colors.
We know that you’re a huge advocate of slow living and eco-conscious as well. When did you start taking interest in those?
It has definitely trickled in over the past few years of my late-twenties, but ever since I became a mother, it has meant so much more - not only for me, but for my family, too. So I would have to say, now more than ever, I am an advocate of slow living and eco-consciousness to help us live a more intentional life as a family.
How have you adopted an eco-conscious lifestyle?
By living a simpler life where we put emphasis on quality over quantity and knowing the history behind the products we use. This lifestyle extends into every facet of our daily life when we align ourselves with brands who make it a mission to benefit the Earth as well as the community and we truly believe in an intentional product.
Your little one is absolutely adorable! Does she love getting involved with your projects?
Oh, thank you so much! She is such a wildcard these days and will definitely get involved with projects as long as snacks are involved! Lately, she has taken more of an interest in my camera and puts on a show when she knows the camera is on her, sometimes! :)
How do you juggle both your Instagram page and your job as a photographer?
It is definitely a work in progress, but they do coordinate well most of the time! I am always taking photos - whether it be life at home, brand collaborations, or clients so I try to schedule posts for my Instagram feeds to allow for more time to focus on client work, editing and outreach. Nap time and bedtime is usually when a lot of the juggling magic happens, haha!
How important is fair trade, ethical fashion to you?
Throughout my college career as I studied apparel merchandising, design and production, fair trade and ethical fashion was a core subject of my education. As I learned to create clothing with my own hands, it gave so much more of a deeper appreciation for the people who produce apparel to sustain themselves. Our economy is overrun with mass consumer consumption and fast-fashion and it is such an important mission to put intention into what we bring home. We need to be mindful and knowledgeable about where our products come from, how they are produced, and do our best to know who is behind it all - and hope we are making a positive difference in their life, too.
What tips can you give others who are looking to adopt a more eco-conscious lifestyle?
My number one tip is to begin by downsizing your closet - start small, then learn to curate to pieces you truly do wear, day in and day out. It can be hard to let things go, but I always ask myself If i have worn or used a particular item in the past six months and if I haven't, it gets donated! Also, be aware of the donation facilities available in your area and seek out textile facilities that take in scrap fabric / worn clothing that is recycled into new fabric. (Use resources like earth911.com to check out where you can recycle your textiles).
Recycling is an everyday activity in our household and it's fun to see our daughter help with it, too! We also incorporate biodegradable + natural home items and cleaners as much as we can.
Truly, do your research when you are buying, learn what you can live without, and know that even small steps count.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Such a loaded question, but always a good one! :) I see myself thriving in my photography career, working and learning alongside creators, brands, and like-minded individuals. Also, learning so much as a mother as I have watched my daughter grow over the past five years. Hopefully, many traveling experiences with my family and just living our best life!