Exploring the Garden of Eden! (kittiver)

Eden Kittiver is an up and coming photographer in the music & portrait scene. She's a wee little darling of only 20 years old but man she is way beyond her years both spiritually and in her natural talent behind the lens. I trotted around Downtown Disney with her this last weekend where I partook in my first professional photo shoot (outside of school pictures growing up). I was VERY awkward and uncomfortable as I hate being solely in the spotlight but Eden managed to relax me and get some super gorgeous shots of me that I'll post at the end of this! I want you to read all about the wonderful person that captures people's badassery and talent on film as that is quite hard to do! 

My name is Eden. I'm 20 years old. I live in Los Angeles. I'm from Maryland originally. I moved out here right before I turned 18. Right when I moved out here on my 18th birthday I started working on a talk show called The Real. It'll be Season 4 that I'm going in. That's what I've been doing full time when I'm not doing photography.

How did you land that awesome sounding job?

My Aunt is actually in the business. She kind of hooked me up. It was just going to be one year of me getting coffee for people and then I developed an interest in it. This year I'll be working with the art department making props and stuff like that. 

Woah. That's so much more up your alley. How lucky!

Oh I know! Right when I got into it - I realized that would be super fun, ya know? So, I worked really hard and helped them out as much as I could. As soon as I got the chance -- ya know it took three years -- I took it. It'll be really fun though, I am looking forward to it. 

That's astounding! 

Soooo you just got back from your tour with that band Bad Cop Bad Cop. How was that? Dreadful, I'm imagining?

Oh totally! Haha, just kidding. Amazing to say the least. It was nerve wracking going into it. 

How did that come to be? How did they ask you to join them for the tour?

Well the first time I met them was at Marty Ploy's birthday party at VLHS. He booked a bunch of bands -- he booked Bad Cop, Decent Criminal, lysolgang, and a bunch of other cool bands. I went and I was nervous to talk to these girls because, ya know, I listened to their music and I thought they were these badass...Wait can I say that?

NO - THIS FUCKING BLOG IS FUCKING CENSORED. Of course you can :)

Haha, okay so I thought they were these badass group of girls. My boyfriend introduced me to Stacey but I was very...fangirling. Then a couple weeks later I was on vacation in Oregon and I got a call from this random number. I never pick up unknown numbers but for some reason I did and it was Stacey! She asked me if she could use some of my photos from that show on the back of their new album. 

How freaking formal! That's a big deal to say the least. 

Yeah - Stacey from BCBC CALLED ME and asked me!  I picked up and was just like, "...hello??"

All angry thinking it's a telemarketer or something.

Haha - yeah. I was like, "What do I owe??" But yeah flash forward a couple of weeks later and I totally forgot that whole instance and how cool it was because at one of their shows up in LA I was talking to them and they just asked if I would be interested in coming with them to Warped Tour. I was like......."What!?! Yeah that would be amazing!" That's why I was nervous because I really only met them two or three times before I went on the road with them. 

Yeah that's super anxiety provoking just because you'll be spending every waking second with this group of peeps for a long time. 

Exactly. Especially with the age difference too. I was scared we were gonna clash and just kept thinking the worst. It was originally just gonna be two weeks but then a couple of days in they told me I could stay for the whole thing if I want. It was amazing. 

What was your favorite and least favorite memory of the tour? (If you even have a least favorite)

Least favorite was just being rained on as frequently as we were. During the show it would rain. I took maybe a week and a half off in the middle to go see my family on the East Coast - which I had already planned before which is why it was cool. While I was gone they had the worst rainstorm ever. So I missed that. Then one day after I returned it just poured on us. We were standing in mud puddles, my shoes were drenched but you can't just leave because I was at merch both times. Devito, who was doing merch on the tour, was scrambling to get everything boxed up and stuff. We had sides on the tents that we'd zip up and we would just huddle under there waiting. But yeah that was the only negative part. The coolest part was the last couple of days when a band would be playing their last song and everyone would come on stage and sing with them. Municipal Waste - they had it on their last show. On The Atari's last show they had everyone sing, "Boys of Summer". Anti Flag's last show in Milwaukee everyone sang, "Brandenburg Gate" and it was...just remarkable. I had seen stuff like that but it's a lot different when everyone is your friend and you just think, "Wow, I'm a part of this!"

It's totally different because at that point you are family.

Yeah! Exactly. That was the best part.

Did you discover any new bands at Warped Tour that you never knew about?

Luckily the stage Bad Cop was on was the best stage, hands down. That's where all the older punk bands were so everyone there was just very kind and great people. So that's who we mingled with. It was bands that I listened to but I didn't know they were even playing. War on Women I fell in love with - they're actually from my hometown. This other band, Doll Skin, they were on the first week and were able to come back on the last day as well but they are so freaking cool. Their singer is 17 or something. The oldest is 19 or 20. 

That's dang impressive. 

They fucking killed it every time. They were like a mini Bad Cop too.  One of them had short pink hair just like Stacey, one of them had long blue hair like Jennie and their dummer had red hair. It was so cute!

Basically they just ripped off BCBC then?

..Yeeesssss....

Hey that's a good thing! Everyone should. 

Right?!

Did you try any new foods on tour? Did you have a fave?

I HAD DEEP FRIED CHEESE CURDS FROM WISCONSIN. 

Ooh. The passion! 

They were amazing. They're like mozzerella sticks but better. They're little chunks of cheese that are delicious.

The fact you said, "chunks", makes me not excited or stoked on them but I'll take your word for it. 

We were in Wisconsin and Devito told me a cart had deep fried cheese curds so he told me, "I buy, you fly?" So I was like HELL YEAH! I went over and we ate them all and then a couple of hours later he asked me if I wanted more and I was like...yeah. Going into it though...I've always kinda been a picky eater. I did try a lot of food. We had catering everyday which was amazing -- three meals a day. There were some things that weren't new but... I didn't know I liked cauliflower? Now I love it! 

That's awesome. Cauliflower is so delicious and healthy - unlike your cheese curds. 

What would be your #1 survival tip for tours of the future? Whether it's for the band or crew or whatever.

You GOTTA stay organized! Because I had a little break in between I was really lucky. I went home and my mom helped me by getting these little bins to put inside my duffle bag. Before I just had this bag of everything. I tried to have a little bag in my bunk to keep clean clothes because my duffle was under the bus. Clothes wise -- ORGANIZATION is the #1 tip I can offer. 

That's super easy to forget too in the hype of preparing for something so fun. 

Did you click with anyone that you weren't expecting too during this tour?

In the band - Jennie and I clicked. She's one of my favorite tour friends. It was a surprise too -- well they are all amazing don't get me wrong. Devito and I got really close too. He's like my brother. Jennie was saying at the beginning of tour that me, Devito and Brent (their tour manager) - are like Louise, Gene and Bob Belcher of the tour. That's because Brent has this really monotone voice where you don't know if he's joking like Bob, Devito loves Rainier the beer just as much as Gene loves food and then I'm a little troublemaker and tiny like Louise. 

What kind of gear do you typically use for photography? Do you have a preference?

My first camera was a Canon T3i - it's a starter camera that you can still do stuff with and I had that up until February of this year. I finally saved up for Canon 5D - this one that I used for you. It's my baby. It was probably the most expensive thing I ever bought but SO WORTH IT. It's amazing. Everyone has their preference and always have. There are people who swear by Nikon. I think I just started with it and it's natural to me. But it really is a preference like Skippy or Jif? Nobody really knows why but everyone has their taste even though there's nothing really different about them. 

How do you push yourself to keep progressing further? I know it's really easy to get comfortable at a certain level in any industry. 

I am motivated by standing out. Especially out in LA there are so many photographers - it's easy to get wrapped up in it and they're trying to make a career out of it but there are so many other options for photographers. For example some may say that they'll work for free which then makes a band go, "Eden's good but why would I pay if this person will do it for free?" So, I really just try to make what I do worth the money. I know it's an art. I put a lot into it. I want other people to see that, ya know? It's hard to justify, out here, spending  money on anything besides groceries and rent haha. My boyfriend helps me a lot too - he'll introduce me to people especially when I'm shy. He introduced me to Bad Cop, He introduced me to Matt Caskitt and Marty Ploy. He's helped me so much. He helps me and he's been in it longer than I have.

What got you into photography then? Especially with you knowing it's such a tough field TO stand out in.

It was always a music thing. I used to really listen to screamo metal stuff like Of Mice and Men and August Burns Red. I think it was a lot like where I was -- there wasn't a lot of other options that I knew about at least as far as music. That was the first thing I heard and I thought it was cool. It's good music but it's not my thing anymore. I went to an Of Mice and Men Show in Maryland and there was a photographer on stage and I was like, "WHAT?! That is the coolest thing ever in the whole world. HOW do they do that?" When they came down over by the barrier I asked them how and they totally snubbed me. (I was only 14 or 15) so I was like, "Whatever. I'm gonna do it then." I got my first camera - the Canon T3i. I got it as a Christmas gift from my Aunt.

Wait, the Aunt that got you the job on The Real?

Yes!

Well that's the best damn Aunt ever. My Aunt only got me drunken abusive messages for Christmas.

Hahaha, yes I have the best Aunt ever. Side note - when I was really young and my parents both worked, I had to go to daycare and I was too terrified to go alone to daycare so she got a job working in the office of the daycare.  

WHAT THE FUCK!!??! That lady is Jesus. 

So yeah - I started doing photography in high school. The first show I ever shot was 4 years ago today on the dot. 

Do you have anyone's work who really influences you as far as photography?

My friend Kayla. She is one of the nicest people I know and one of the most talented people I know.

What a sweet answer. I was expecting some text book answer from The School of Photography. 

I really appreciate not only a photographer who is good at what they do but is kind and helpful. 

So the opposite of the guy who snubbed you at Of Mice and Men?

NOT LIKE THE GUY WHO SNUBBED ME! Yeah. I've met so many photographers who are just rude. Kayla actually got me situated for the first publication I worked for which was called Concert Junkies. That's when I started shooting like big name shows instead of my friend's bands. Kayla totally hooked me up and we weren't even living in the same state. I met her on Tumblr of all places and we were talking. I asked her, "How did you get into photograph Warped Tour?! That's so cool!"

And look at this full circle coming together. Daaaamn. That's dope. 

What's a shoot that you really want to do that you haven't yet?

I've been getting into portrait stuff a lot more. Music is my strong suit but I do love just walking around and shooting too. I really love working with the Fat Wreck Chords bands. You'd expect me to say some big, big band but I don't want to do that. Obviously I would if given the chance but....La Escalera has a good group of bands too. 

Western Settings seems like a really fun band to tour with sometime. They're always touring too.

I think touring wise - just doing that with friends because imagine doing a tour with people you don't know.

Yeah because as much as you didn't know BCBC..you still knew how kind they are.

They are woke as Hell. They're amazing. They aren't ignorant about shit either.

I like them a lot because they don't use punk as a way to be malicious or rude or stupid. A lot of people use punk exactly for that and that's not what it should be about at all. They just do it right. They always have a good, strong message and they get straight to the point.

I completely agree. 

Enough about Bad Cop - this is YOUR interview! Do you have a message you want to convey through your photography?

Not just through my photography but going back to not being a rude asshole photographer. There are so many in the industry. It's weird that people are shocked that I'm talking to them - that shouldn't be the case. Photographers are just people and they have no right to be rude.

Honestly I feel that way about anyone in any field. 

How do you #staynerdy?

I love Marvel comics. My favorite is Rogue. She's a badass, superhero Wonder Girl. She's seductive but sweet. She's the role model of any woman - or should be I mean. I've actually never seen any of the movies - only the animated series and reading the comics. 

I had a blast interviewing Eden - NOT only because we were at my happy place but she is just so genuinely sweet and has this indescribable radiating energy that makes you get high off of life with no drugs or alcohol! I wish I had that affect. I hope you enjoyed getting to know her - I know I did! Check out the photo shoot below and #staynerdy till next week!

MY PHOTO SHOOT

STAYCATION OF THE YEAR

 

My (should be) blood sister, Gianna, came to visit me for a few days last week. It was bliss and JUST what I needed with the extremely emotional year I have had. Here's a lil slideshow of what we did! It consisted of seeing sea lions, seals, Gianna's FIRST gel acrylic manicure, going to Disneyland, and most importantly FOOD. Ugh I just love her so much and wish she wasn't on the East Coast. Thank you Gianna for taking most of these pics! I was having too much fun and forgot to capture memories on film.

GIFT OF THE WEEK

How exciting is it that Stephen gifted me my first piece of jewelry in our relationship this week??? Probably not very to everyone but me - BUT LOOK HOW CUTE! We were shopping at the end of our Disney day and I instantly drooled and swooned over this baby. Stephen snuck back into that area without me noticing and gave this to me when we got home! I AM OBLIVIOUS. This was such an appropriate gift for me and it's my new everyday necklace. I have the sweetest man. 

INTERVIEW ON DECK

Seth Hollander! This music genius is gracing me with some knowledge this week and I can't wait to post our interview. He not only specializes in music but he also does some rad swirling finishes on guitars like the 3 pictured above!