Collin and the Camera

Full Name: Collin Findlay

Age: 29

Star Sign: Virgo

Who is Collin Findlay?

I am a lot of things -- first and foremost I try to anchor myself somewhere in the intersection of transparency, kindness, and honesty, because I feel like living those qualities do the greatest amount of good to those around me, as well as to myself. Beyond that, I am some conglomerate of lots of different passions...an instrumentalist, a teacher, a composer, a photographer, a creator, an artist, sometimes shy, sometimes confident, sometimes minimal...all while keeping my eyes to the sky. I tend to be somewhat of a loner, but I think that makes it all the more special when I get to share moments of photography or music-making with others.

We are pretty twisted around here - do you think death by drowning or death by  electrocution would be more painful?

What are we drowning in here? Melted cheese or something? (If that’s the case, I’m in.)

Where do you get your inspiration?

I feel the most satisfaction when I’m able to directly help others around me succeed. Perhaps that’s how and why I fell into the music teaching world for so many years. Knowing that I can help someone learn to read music, or learn to make their first notes on their instruments, or gain a bit of confidence in front of the camera, or learn how to articulate what they like about their favorite types of music, or see themselves in a new and special way they’ve never experienced, or offer the opportunity to be a part of a moment of artistic expression they’ve never been a part of before. Those things inspire and motivate me.

When did you know that you were going to make music your business?

I knew from a young age that I would always be around music in some capacity -- I never knew I was going to be a teacher until I began my undergraduate degree, but I jumped into that realm headfirst and had such an amazing time learning how to be as focused a pedagogue as possible, knowing it was my job to lead students through the jungle music just as I had been led as a student. After graduate school, I basically kept following opportunity after opportunity that led me into being a full-time freelance orchestra musician. I was able to do a ton of traveling all over the world for work, but as I matured in that space, I realized that I was particularly unfulfilled, and that feeling led me back into teaching and eventually into the photography space.

Do you have any famous-music moments? (celebrity client, or favorite music moment in a film)

In 2018 I went to Mexico to play in an orchestra I previously had a contract with for some sort of trade agreement ceremony, complete with the leaders of many North and South American countries...hey, Justin Trudeau!!

I’m lucky enough to play the French horn, and to be very honest with you, we get the best part of every single movie soundtrack out there, even in some places you wouldn’t expect. Check out the soundtracks to Prince of Egypt, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Mulan, and Les Temps Modernes for some lesser-known (but still orgasmically incredible) horn music!

In addition to your music, you recently announced the launch of Collin Findlay Photography. Tell me more.

Yes! I finally decided to take the plunge after investing in a bit of new equipment to “officially” launch Collin Findlay Photography. It had always been a goal of mine to earn (some) of my living doing photography, and I finally worked up enough guts to make it happen for myself, particularly after being a part of your Twisted Tulip launch. It’s been a fun process of delving into things like branding, marketing, advertising, reaching out to touches and contacts, seeking professional advice from other professionals in the area, and other similar activities, and has honestly been such a fun thing to bring to fruition. It’s funny...as I breathe life into this project, I can feel it breathing life into me.

Collin and the CameraCollin and the Camera

The most important moments in our lives always seem to involve the desire to document  - weddings, baby showers, birthdays - what is it about photography that seems to anchor these events?

I think there are a lot of things that are similar between music and photography, namely that we always remember the way photos and music made us feel. You might not be able to remember the words to your favorite song from 20 years ago, or you might not be able to recall who exactly was standing next to you in your 4th grade yearbook photo, but you will always remember the way that music and that photo made you feel. Photography is such a peculiar way of plucking the tiniest sliver of time out of thin air and being able to keep it with you forever.

What do you hope your subjects will feel when viewing your images?

I hope my subjects look at the images I take of them and feel like they can take on anything life conjures up. I want my subjects to view themselves in such a positive and artistic light after they shoot with me that they are invigorated to do a number of things, whether that be to put their energy into something they’ve been scared to jump headfirst into, or even to realize that they (along with anyone else who wants to) can have participatory and meaningful artistic experiences even if they don’t consider themselves artists.

Neither of us are true Austinites. What is it about this city that is so attractive to creative types?  

Austin houses a sense of growth and innovation that I think is unique to this city. It’s a progressive breath of funky and fresh air in thrown in the middle of this weirdo state, and I love that on top of everything, it’s a city that has room for everyone. As an artist, I have a sense of longing to be part of a movement or a city that is not only growing but thriving, and Austin definitely provides that for me.

What would you say to a younger version of yourself?

Scared? Do it anyway.