The Photographic Journal


Essay 386 • Apr 22nd 2019

It’s not easy switching between the personal and commercial world. Oftentimes when I am shooting commercial and advertising work I lose sight of the art that drives my passion because you’re making work that is supposed to cater to a specific market or type of person and not necessarily what you want to shoot personally. Shooting commercially, everything is so planned and thought out, so shooting personal work is a nice break from the rigor and intense preparation that comes along with being an advertising photographer.

Lately, I’ve been trying to loosen the reigns and just do what feels right in the moment. I want to put less pressure on myself to always do everything exactly perfect, as it can be tiresome and a lot of times very draining. So I took Nyadhuor, a stylist, and a make-up artist to a hilly park in east LA with not a whole lot of a plan. From there I let my intuition drive. In this way, I feel that I capture moments in a more authentic, almost accidental way. I love when my personal work excites me, it’s like a drug that I keep coming back to. Not all of my personal work is so spontaneous like this, but it was really freeing to come away with these shots knowing that it all just happened as it was meant to. :)


Kayla Varley is a lifestyle and fashion photographer based in Southern California. In 2005 she was gifted a tiny camera, and began to document her teenage life. At age 18, she moved to Los Angeles where she attended Art Center College of Design, she now lives in West LA with her fiance and spends most days adventuring outdoors or working out of her home.

Her work aims to reel you into a spontaneous, but intentional space, where every photograph feels like a poignant moment in her life. She thrives on the philosophy that time not spent being creative is time wasted.
Instagram | Website

Model: Nyadhuor Deng – LA Models
Stylist: Chaine Leyendecker
Makeup: Dana Delaney