Okay, okay, Claire may have been the first person I met when I went to orientation weekend at college – but honestly she was just as cool/enthusiastic/fun/personable right then – like a lightening bug that is also able to grab you and bring you in for a snuggly hug. Pretty awesome, right? Now Claire is kicking ass and taking names as the head photographer for our favorite interior design magazine, Homepolish, where she captures stunning interiors and creates the witty, bright and enticing Instagram captions for the brand. Combining some serious smarts, a healthy helping of sass, and enough love to make your heart explode, Claire is the total package- and we are smitten.
Tell us about yourself, how did you start with Homepolish?
After I graduated school in North Carolina, I didn’t have a job lined up. I had a degree in Photojournalism and was applying to photo-related positions all over the country, but I wasn’t quite sure yet how I was going to launch myself into this whole real-world thing. I went home for a month to help my mom move the rest of my things out of the house I grew up in in Louisiana (she was retiring and moving to California) then I peaced out to visit my then-boyfriend in New York. I had lived there the summer prior and had a small handful of contacts, but I figured I would just meet with as many people as I could and hustle for two weeks before returning home. Long story short, at the end of those two weeks I realized that leaving wouldn’t get me the job I wanted, or get me to back to New York — but staying would. So I did.
I freelanced to make some cash while job-hunting, and that’s when I learned about Homepolish. I went in for what was listed as a Photography Internship, made it clear I wanted a “real job,” and they said ok let’s see how you feel and how we feel after one month. By the end of my third week in, I’d been brought on as the fourth full-time employee of the company (it was still so small back then! only a year old). The next two years have been a crazy and amazing rollercoaster 🙂
Your images are STUNNING! How did you get started with photography?
I had always been artistic growing up — my childhood was filled with art, theatre and dance classes + music and vocal lessons. I bounced back and forth between the visual and performing arts, but I never felt special or amazing at any of those things. Simply mildly all right 😉 When I went to college, I wanted to study Journalism — I loved to write, but had no idea what the hell I wanted to do when I grew up. So I figured I’d just fill my time with the things I loved until I figured it out. Luckily, the Journalism program at Elon was totally incredible and held great room for curiosity and flexibility (which is how I later focused in photojournalism). In my sophomore year I got my first “real” camera and honestly became addicted instantly. It was like all of my misdirected and confused artistic intention from the past 20 years finally made sense. I haven’t stopped shooting since.
You spend your work days photographing beautiful spaces, what has that taught you about home decor?
I do not have a professional background in interior design — it was just something I always loved, but didn’t actually realize how much I loved it. The moment that I figured out that I could combine my love for new places, interesting spaces + the people that inhabit them with design and photography, it all clicked. I feel really, really lucky that I found Homepolish, where I am constantly surrounded by such talented people who also just have incredible taste in general.
I’ve learned that home decor is something that will grow with you — just like your taste in clothing and how you present yourself. I think back on the things I wore back in high school and college, when I was trying to figure out what the hell my style actually was (thankfully so much of that has changed). Design works the same way. It takes time — and trial and error — to figure it out. I think you should have some fun with it until you figure it out, so that when you do, larger (and probably more expensive) choices come easier.
What are two things about you that we couldn’t find out on social media?
(1) My last name is not Spanish, despite popular belief. “Esparros” is actually the name of the teensiest tiniest town in France, in the Pyrenees Moutains.
(2) I really love to cook and find grocery shopping completely therapeutic.
What is the best, and the worst, career advice you have ever received?
Best career advice: “do whatever it is that you want to do.” Thanks Mom. Someone else once said to me, “be loyal to yourself.” I thought that was good/applicable as well.
Worst? I can’t actually think of anything awful or misleading that’s ever stuck with me. There’s a good chance I’m a selective listener 😉
You live in Brooklyn, what drew you to the spot?
The first time I ever came to Brooklyn I decided I wanted to live here. And I knew, at some point, that I would. That was back in 2011 — I was living in Boston for the summer in between my sophomore and junior year of college and came down to NYC for a weekend. My boyfriend at the time surprised me and brought me to Fort Greene for The Brooklyn Flea. I know it sounds so lame now, but I fell in love with Brooklyn that day. I made every effort to come play here the next summer when I lived in a dorm building in Manhattan while interning at Good Housekeeping, and when it came time to apartment hunt here after graduating, I didn’t look anywhere else. I landed in Williamsburg and have been here ever since.
What items do you keep with you for every shoot?
Two different Nikon camera bodies, a wide angle lens and a 50mm fixed lens, several memory cards, a tripod, reflector, battery charger, lens cloth, coffee and packs of instant oatmeal (just in case).
Have you always been creative? What other ways do you express yourself creatively?
Honestly, I use Instagram as a way to explore creatively in other visual ways that aren’t solely limited to interiors. Other than photography and styling for interiors, I am usually humming some tune under my breath (sorry coworkers) or belting it out when I’m totally alone (sorry neighbors that I’ve never met). One time I sang background vocals for my talented friends’ pop-punk rendition of Justin Bieber’s popular jam “What Do You Mean.” And I like to burn off steam by learning dance moves to music videos. CAN I PLEASE JUST BE A POP STAR?
Give us three quick tips for taking a photo on our iPhones!
(1) Turn on the grid! You can do this in your Settings. Go! Do it now. There is nothing worse than a crooked photo. Why? Because there’s no excuse. And no one deserves a crick in their neck just from scrolling through Instagram.
(2) Download the photo editing apps Snapseed, Afterlight and VSCO. I toggle between the three because they all have their own strengths.
(3) Take. Your. Time. Yes, it’s so quick and easy to snap something on your phone. But it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t involve a little effort and intention. Often times that’s all it takes to take your snaps from nauseating to nice.
It’s a Saturday evening, what are you doing?
Probably drinking beer on my rooftop with my roommate. Either that or having dinner/drinks with a crew of friends somewhere in Williamsburg.
What word embodies the twenty-something years?
Oh god. Let’s see. Let’s sayyyyy…. unpredictable.
For more Claire brilliance follow her on Insta