Hailey (@haileygolich) is a photographer from Flagstaff, Arizona.
From way back in your feed to now, you’ve taken tons of travel photos of different spectacular locations around the world. Have you been an adventurer since you were young? How did that start?
I think I’ve always had a sense of curiosity to seek out new experiences, places, and learn from the people around me. I started traveling internationally when I was 14 and it has become somewhat of an addiction for me. Once you realize there’s an entire world to discover beyond your hometown it’s as if your whole perspective on life changes. Making travel a priority isn’t always easy but I think once you realize what’s important to you, you make sacrifices to make it happen.
At what point did photography come into play?
Ironically, traveling is what got me into photography. I was going to these incredible places and wanted to document my experiences so I dedicated a lot of time into learning everything I could about photography. I also attribute much of those early years to the encouragement I received from other people to keep shooting and learning. I think they saw something in me that I didn’t necessarily see at the time. Without those people in my life I know I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Over time, how has your eye changed as to how you capture these locations?
I shoot a lot less when I travel now than I did when I first started. I find myself sitting in places longer and taking things in more. I also never really consider myself to be a travel photographer even if it may come across that way. Traveling is very personal to me and often for my own personal growth rather than to share photos of beautiful places. I tend to internalize a feeling about a place rather than have the urgency to photograph it. I think things have changed to shift away from shooting for the pleasure of other people and more about what I get out of the experience and how that changes me as a person.
When did you start photographing weddings and what about them makes it of such an interest to you?
I shot my first wedding when I was 16 but never thought I’d end up being a wedding photographer. I jumped around and shot all sorts of things over the next few years but never found anything I really connected with until I started shooting weddings again about three years ago. I realized weddings were a combination of everything I had been doing but with a much more emotional aspect than anything I had been shooting previously. I’m a very relational person and value the time I get to invest in getting to know the couples I work with.
How much of the wedding shoots are plan vs. improvised?
I'd say it's a bit of both. I usually have a vision for how a session will go but often my favorite moments are the ones that organically happen.
How do you feel that Flagstaff (Arizona) impacts you?
I feel very fortunate to live in Flagstaff where I’m constantly surrounded by so much beauty. While living in a small mountain town has it’s challenges, I love the sense of community and belonging it brings. No matter how long I’ve been away it always feels like home for me and it’s the place I love to come back to.
Do you have any particular goals for the future with your photography?
I know that photography will always be a part of what I do but I’m not sure what that will look like yet. I love the balance of shooting weddings and having the freedom to travel but I know that will evolve in the future as circumstances change. I’ve realized that I don’t need to have everything figured out and that I’m more inspired to let things happen as they do. For the moment I couldn’t be happier doing what I’m doing and it only makes me that much more excited to see where things will go.
Q&A by Jack Sommer