Caryn Drexl of Lightleaks is a "30 year old self-taught photographer the internet made." She specializes in female conceptual portraits, with a good number of them being self portraits. You can see her full portfolio at

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft, Caryn.
As a teenager I was taken out of high school to be home taught, which quickly became too much of a bother and so I was basically left to my own devices. It was obviously hard, being out of school with very little social interaction, or even anything to do most days, and so I started taking snapshot self portraits with our webcam. That branched off into my turning our scanner on its side to use as a camera, and then blossomed eventually into "real" photography when I finally got my hands on a camera. It was my way of dealing with all that was going on around me, my therapy basically, and it hasn't stopped since.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
I'm super simple in that as long as I'm with my fiance and my sister I'm happy.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
I don't have a "normal" job so I'm free to take pictures whenever I want, but since I do more arty things and don't work at the demands of others, I tend to just wait for ideas to come to me. So I have a hard time pushing myself to shoot all the time to make sure I constantly have new stuff going out.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I think I went from ballerina to spy to fashion designer to photographer. But I actually have no idea though why I thought at 10 or so that I'd be a photographer, because I'd never picked up a camera by that point.

What item in your collection would you most like to receive as a gift if someone were shopping for you?
I picked this print because it's one of the few of my own I actually do own. It's not for everyone, but since I took it it has been my favorite, and is actually in our kitchen. I walk past it god knows how many times a day and I never get tired of seeing it.

What other artists out there do you love?

Tran Nguyen

Elena Kalis [I'm obsessed with underwater photography]

What does your future hold?
Hopefully a lot less stress and the ability to finally be able to shoot some of my larger ideas. I should probably also get off my butt and get into gallery shows again.