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Life & Work with Robin Davis Miller

Today we’d like to introduce you to Robin Davis Miller.

Hi Robin, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’ve always loved faces. For a lot of years, I wrote stories about people I found  interesting – stories that were loaded with character but short on plot. Turning to photography was a natural step for me because I can just focus on bringing out the true character and beauty of my subjects (both human and animal!)

In almost any situation, in every job that I have had, what interests me the most  is the people. I’m always drawn to personalities, and to people’s dreams and desires.  Being able to capture this as a photographer has been a lifelong dream — I just get to talk with people, draw them out, and take a picture of who they really are and what they care about at that moment.

I have been a writer, a lawyer, a non-profit leader, but nothing makes me as happy as taking pictures of people. There is an immediacy in getting to the essence of someone and then trying to capture it in photos that is a real rush –  like nothing else I have ever done professionally. 

Another thing that I love about my work is the notion that I am helping to shape (in a really positive way) a family’s collective memory. Knowing that my pictures will be hanging on walls reminding families of what they have built and the love they have created is thrilling to me.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I am a very upbeat person and don’t dwell very much on obstacles – they are just a way to meet and interact with more people. I’m not afraid to ask for help when I need it and have been incredibly fortunate in the people that I meet. Some people will tell you that Baltimore is a hard community to break into — I am a transplant, having grown up a Philly girl and lived in New York and New Jersey before coming to Baltimore in 2004 with my husband, children, and dogs. But the people of Baltimore have welcomed me with open arms and are really amazing – this is my home now and there is no looking back.

If I had known I was going to become a photographer I would probably have more of a classical artist’s education – it definitely takes me longer to figure things out than it does my younger and art-school-educated peers. However, I think that I make up for that in the breadth of my life experiences and my understanding of all different kinds of people, so I don’t really view that as an obstacle.

I am attracted to the vibrance in people, and I always have been. I like to help clarify people in my portraits – show them as three-dimensional beings with strong characters.  While I do like playing with subtlety and nuance, no two people are the same, and I thrive on celebrating their differences.  I have always been more attracted to bold compositions and colors- I have heard that people say that the colors in my house make it look like a kindergarten – that might sound hurtful to some people but it actually made me giddy! I look for the vibrance in appearance and personality and almost always find it.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I shoot anything with a face. From authentic and raw to whimsical and airy, I will capture the essence of the souls in front of me. My clients have told me that when they come to a shoot, it feels like playing… that is a great compliment to me.  I make people feel at ease, and it shows in my photographs. I have been told that people like who they are when they are with me, and they like what they look like when seen through my eyes and my lenses.

What does success mean to you?
Success for me is seeing my pictures on someone’s wall. It makes me incredibly happy!

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