Spotlight By Aaron Levy
Oahu-born photographer Heather Amistad began documenting her hikes years ago with just a polaroid camera and friends. Fast-forward to today and the humble photographer is being recognized by international outlets for her clean and consistent style.
Now 28 years-old, Amistad moved to the mainland ten years ago to study architecture at Portland State University. Landscape and nature photography became a respite from school.
“Architecture school is no joke, and sometimes you’re even sleeping at night in the studio,” she said. “Photography, at least nature, became an escape for me, something that I could get away from the hustle and bustle of school and work with.”
Though Heather works part-time as a stylist and says she’d like to experiment with shooting fashion editorials, buildings and spaces continually draw her in.
“I think my end goal is really to travel and shoot for an architecture magazine,” she said. “Spaces and landscapes or spaces within a bigger landscape. Architecture will always be my first love.”
It’s no secret that shooting the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty has exploded as a hobby and even profession in recent years. Even in a city saturated with photographers documenting #ThatPNWLife, Amistad has garnered acclaim from outlets including Canada-based Street Dreams Magazine.
Her image of The Wall of Tears was selected for the seventh issue of the Instagram-sourced photography publication. She was later asked by co-founder Steve Sweatpants to participate as a featured artist for the eighth issue.
“I’m trying to collaborate with them in the future and bring them to either Seattle or Portland.”
Over the last year, Amistad has also been contributing album artwork and shooting shows for popular label and radio show, Soulection.
As with the Street Dreams people, Heather first began communicating with the Soulection crew through Instagram. Later, she met Joe Kay at a show in Portland.
“Joe reached out to me and was like I really want to use your photos for our Soulection Radio on Soundcloud,” she said.
Like many photographers who use Instagram, Amistad credits the social network for helping her meet many of her close friends, specifically mentioning Allie Clarkson and Crystal Geller as close collaborators that she met through the ‘gram.
“I feel like when you’re a fan of each other's’ work, you’ve kind of already built a friendship,” Amistad said. “Even abroad too there are people I haven’t met yet that I’d love to meet from places like Asia, Europe and Australia.”
Amistad rarely posts images of herself on Instagram. “I want my audience to recognize my name through my work,” she said.
The Hawaii native recently joined a Montreal-based photography talent agency and is about to begin working on a influencer-based campaign for a Japanese footwear brand. She is also toying with the idea of moving to San Francisco. Though in five years she’d like to be traveling to shoot spaces, interiors and nature for an architecture magazine, she remains adamant that she isn’t just a nature photographer.
“I’m still trying to dabble in everything,” she said, “I wouldn’t say I’m a nature photographer. I try to do as many other mediums as I can.”