September 21, 2016

Meet Winonah

I have always been an admirer of people. To say that I am persistently inspired by those that I surround myself with may even be an understatement, considering the gravity that the humans around me have influenced me. Chuck Palahniuk says it best in one of my all-time favorite quotes: "nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I have ever known."

I am blessed to be surrounded by the most interesting individuals. Left, right and all over, there's photographers, film-makers, singers, dancers, thinkers and doers in abundance. These people fuel my creativity and open my eyes to the world around me. Therefore, as an effort to share their impact in my life with the rest of the world, I've decided to interview them and share their stories and their work on this little space we call our home on the internet.

Conceptualizing this project has been a long time coming. I've been dreaming this up since early 2015 and have now finally actualized the idea into publishing. First up is Winonah Estranero, who is first and foremost an amazing faith-driven human, and secondary to that, she is also graciously skilled at the art of preserving memories in the form of pictures. Her Instagram, @winniestranero is on the top of the list of my favorite accounts, regardless of my personal connection to her. I was lucky enough to convince her to do this interview, and even more lucky to call her a friend. So grab a cup of your preferred warm beverage and keep reading to get to know her more.

Who even are you though? Can you describe yourself in third person, the way an author would write about a character?
Winonah is a twenty-something year old college student who's almost always sleep deprived, fueled by either tea or coffee, and always daydreaming about the next big escape. She's a little bit awkward and prefers to be behind the lens instead of the front. Loves Jesus, the outdoors, and laughing at her own jokes. 

Now that’s settled, tell us about what you do – your profession, your hobbies, your passions. 
Right now, I'm just finishing up the last semester of my bachelors of degree in biological sciences. In between that, my part time job, and volunteer work, I travel when I can (mostly just in North America. If I can't afford a plane ticket, I like to go on mini road-trips around BC and hike some mountains (given that I don't have another crazy paper due or an exam coming up). And of course, I like to take my camera with me when I'm out and about. Hopefully one day I can go further out and get involved in missions, and really share Jesus to every corner of the world.

Can you talk about the rise of your Instagram? 
A couple of years ago I was traveling across Southwest America into the desert and canyon-lands and I took a lot of photos of the landscape, some of which gained the attention of major Instagram accounts like Herschel. Eventually, Instagram had put me on the "Suggested Users List" and I guess some people followed their suggestion. 

As a content creator, what fuels you to move and make? What inspires you to create? 
I've developed a really big love for the outdoors and traveling. Every place always leaves a mark in my heart, so I'm driven to create something to forever remember it by. There is so much beauty out there that God created for us to know Him, and my ultimate purpose in life is to know Him and make Him be known. Even if it's just through images and short-stories, this is how I testify to His greatness, like, "Look at what my Dad made!!!"

If you could take a picture of something – anything right now, what would it be? 
Tough question, but right now I really want to photograph a suspension bridge, not the ones up high hanging over a canyon, but the low ones in the backcountry over a stream of water coming from the glaciers.

With that being said, could you describe your creative process (from shooting, editing and uploading)? 
On a more leisurely shoot like when I'm enjoying outdoors and traveling, I usually just shoot whatever catches my eye, but for a planned-out shoots where specific images are required, I try to envision what I want in the photograph and try to frame it just so. Next I upload all my photos onto a server such as Google Photos, that way I can access them through my phone, and on my phone I use apps like Vscocam to edit the photos and give them the feel that I want.

When it comes to your Instagram, are you more of a planner or a doer? How much thought and effort goes into your feed? 
A little bit of both I guess. Sometimes I have a vision of how I want the images and tones to be coordinated in my feed so I pick from my archives accordingly. But when I'm traveling, or if I've done something particularly exciting one day, I just post as I go.

What brands have been your favorite to work with, and why? And moreover, if the sky was the limit, with no restrictions whatsoever, which brand would you like to collaborate with? 
I've only worked with a couple of brands, but my favorite is Albion Fit. They have great swimsuit designs for women of all body types. They're also very active in their community and I really like how they regularly gift their followers with giveaways.
If the sky was the limit then heck, Air Canada let's collab! I've also always wanted to collaborate with Jeep and National Geographic, but that's a whole 'nother level for sure. 

Lastly, what would be your advice for others who would like to follow a similar trajectory to yours? 
Just always make sure that you're excited about your work, regardless of the amount of feedback you get. Also, show that excitement in everything you produce.

That pretty much sums up our interview with Winonah! Be sure to check out her Instagram to get to know more of her and to follow along on her adventures. We leave you now with a worksheet we got her to doodle on. 

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