Dating artists is tough, but two artists dating each other? Terrifying. So you would think if you haven’t met Justin Hadley and Rickelle Gurell. Justin and Rickelle are two talented Marietta photographers who have recently gotten engaged. While the delicate art of mixing work and home life might seem treacherous to some, Justin and Rickelle take this on naturally, letting each other grow independently while somehow not turning the whole relationship into a giant competition of flashes and f-stops. Below, the duo talks about photography and lets us in on how they are able to grow as artists and as a couple without letting one mess up the other.
Give me the quick and dirty description of your photographic styles.
JH: It kind of depends on what I'm shooting. I really like people and stories. If I can work an implied narrative into a shot, I'm a happy camper.
RG: I enjoy shooting in many different ways. I also think that I have been growing and changing with my style a whole lot lately. I've been trying out new things and experimenting more with light. I have had people look at my images and say, "I could tell this was yours." I'm not sure how they can place that, but it's pretty interesting to me.
How do you influence each other's work?
JH: Rickelle really pushes me to come up with better concepts. She's way better at that than I am. We spend A LOT of time throwing ideas back and forth to solidify them - which is really fun. We'll talk about different concepts for shoots and ways to compose and light them. I think it kind of bugs some people when we geek out on photo stuff in front of them.
RG: When you are really close to someone that is in the same line of work, it's inevitable to not influence each other in some way. I'm sure there are things we pick up on in our everyday life that influences the other without us even knowing. Generally, though, when I am working on something (especially something that is very time consuming) I always get his opinion. He is a fantastic photographer, editor, and artist so I really value his opinion. I also love to collaborate. After a while it's not his influence or mine. It's just a jumbled mass of ideas that becomes this one project we work on.
How do you keep your own style or voice unique from each other?
JH: I don't think it's really something that we think too much about. It kind of just happens. If one of us has a shoot and that is specifically ours, the other will be there to help with suggestions as it goes, but for the most part will just sit back and let the other work. We kind of take turns being each other's assistant and learn from each other that way.
RG: We are still two separate people that have to do our own stuff. We have our own computers and our own software. We both have stuff we work on for ourselves. I guess we keep things separate just by being ourselves. When we do share ideas, it's typically an idea the other didn't have and a direction the other wouldn't have gone in. This is why I enjoy when we do work together.
What is your must-have lens or accessory?
JH: I'd be lost without my Pocket Wizards. They are radio transceivers that send a signal from your camera to fire your off-camera flash. I've been reading a lot about new lighting techniques lately so they are a must have for me. Also, I just got a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens that I'm having a lot of fun with.
RG: My "must-have" is just my camera! Any lens you give me would be fun to try out. I love have a speed-light or a reflector with me just in case I need light, but shooting with available light, when done right, is always really nice. I guess my "must-have" would be a spare, fully charged battery.
Tips for artist couples who are in the same line of work?
JH: I would say that you really need to have an open mind to each other's style. Don't try to make both of your work look the same because then what's the point? Where's the fun in that? It's not important that your work looks similar, it's important that you can work both together and off of each other to produce unique work. Don't try to force it. Just because you are in a relationship and are both photographers, doesn't mean you will work well together. You know, kind of like how not all friends should be roommates.
RG: I guess I have more of a reminder than a tip: It is just so nice to have someone there to help you carry all of that equipment!