For the better part of her life, San Francisco-based photographer Amanda Durbin has been obsessively recording the moments and events occurring all around her. From the first time she picked up a camera at age 8 when she took an extra-curricular summer class at the University of Memphis—”Photography just seemed like the most fun to me. Thinking back on it now, I actually don’t remember learning anything technical in those classes except for how to load film into my crappy 35mm point and shoot. Maybe it was just my little 8-year-old mind not paying attention”—she’s been injecting her perspective into every image she creates.
“I’m lucky that my dad is into photography as well because he was very encouraging and curious about what I’d been shooting growing up,” she remembers. “He’d tell me how jealous he was of me because “my eye” and said it came naturally to me, which made me feel really special and fueled me to shoot more. It was also really nice to get his hand-me-down cameras and equipment too.”
Since studying Photography and Printmaking at San Francisco State University, the 24-year-old has been capturing images all over the world of observations, of her subjects noticing their surroundings at the same time as she does. From a man using a point-and-shoot to remember his time with the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, to a lone restaurant patron gazing out a window, awaiting a mystery guest, there is a sense of patience, remembrance and contemplation in each of her shots.
“I see the world as a place to be explored, admired, questioned, and laughed at,” Amanda tells us. “I present excerpts from my every day, but having a handful of odd jobs (working the night shift on Mondays at a 24 hour donut shop, babysitting an energetic red-headed 2 year old, assistant managing a DIY school whose motto is “Drink beer and make stuff”, and occasionally being contracted as PA for Google shoots), my every day can widely vary.”
Amanda tries to bring an iPhone and disposable camera with her as often as possible (“Don’t get me wrong, I love the control I have with my SLRs and sometimes wish I had the clarity and precision they provide for me. Though I figure as long as I have some kind of camera to capture what I want, all is not lost”) to ensure happened-upon moments are preserved in both her memory and portfolio, the visual storybook of her life that’s been a driving appeal of her craft since her first roll was processed some 16 years ago.
“What really captured me and made me a life-long photographer was having my film developed and then presented to me on contact sheets. It was like I was reading a short story that I had written with photographs.”