We had the good fortune of connecting with Robin Fulton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Robin, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
I began photographing full-time in 1996. The company I worked for flew me all around the country training our venues how to photograph weddings, portraits and families. I quickly became a regional manager and was flourishing in my career. In 2001 I gave birth to my first of two children. within four months, my employer told me that my “priorities were in the wrong order “and I was laid off. Being a new mother was scary enough, but to be suddenly unemployed was terrifying. Fortunately my reputation as a photographer preceded me, and I began getting calls at home from venues, florists, and referrals from previous clients. It was beautiful and overwhelming. Within three months I had to get a business license and was able to schedule my photo shoots around my child’s schedule. After my second child, my business was well-established and I was able to balance work and motherhood effortlessly. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and by losing the security I had with a corporation, I gained a freedom that I might never have taken the leap of faith for.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The gateway drug is not creating art but experiencing art. The best advice I can give any artist is to step away from your computer, your easel, your sewing machine, and create experiences. Research other artists. Go to the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Botanic Gardens, take a road trip, go to a festival…Learn something. In order to grow in your craft, you have to step outside of your comfort zone. In the beginning, you’re probably going to suck. It can be a bruise to your ego when you’re skilled at something, and new techniques aren’t learned easily, but it’s never a waste if you learn something. Even through all of my transformations the best compliment I ever received was that my photos “breathe”. I know that I see things differently than most people. My theory is that people don’t notice the beauty and simple things, because they’re so overwhelmed. It’s my job to separate that beauty so that it can be more easily understood. The word Gestalt means that the whole of something is only created by the sum of its parts. I look for those parts, whether it’s a moment in time, an expression, texture, light or shape. By anticipating that moment before it happens and recognizing the beauty in simple things, I can visually explain them. I can help people see what I see. When I photograph a portrait, it’s not just a snap with a face. I need to show who that person is, (or who they want you to believe they are). I want people to experience my images and feel intrigue, as if they know something secret about the subject. It’s not simply Photography. It’s inviting my subjects to collaborate in my art.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Denver is the best so many worlds. We have a beautifully rich, diverse population, and a solid LGBTQ community. This means that not only do we have fabulous restaurants, but we have incredible arts, culture and history to explore. Personally one of my favorite places in Denver is the River North district known as RiNo. There’s blocks upon blocks of murals that rival San Francisco’s Mission district, coupled with art galleries, microbreweries and farm-to-table restaurants. A few minutes bicycle ride south of RiNo is the Museum of Contemporary Art. MCA revolves their exhibits frequently, and I haven’t seen such thoughtfully curated shows anywhere else. I’ve lived in New York, London and Chicago, and seriously, the folks at MCA kick serious butt. From Marilyn Minter, to Mark Mothersbaugh… The quality of artists that have graced their halls is unsurpassed. Entertainment wise, I would definitely recommend Hamburger Marys. Not only is their mac & cheese the best in the land, the Drag Shows are unsurpassed! If you have a chance to catch LaLa Shearz, Jessica I’Whor, Felony Misdemeanor or Dixie Krystals, you won’t regret it! Denver’s A-List Drag performers bring the glitz of Hollywood right to your table. Outside of downtown there’s a few purely Colorado experiences that are a must-do; The Georgetown Loop, Railroad is a fantastically campy experience, especially during Christmas. Georgetown is a small mining town about 45 minutes west of Denver, and is supposedly the most haunted town per capita in the USA. I believe it too. Further west is Glenwood Hot Springs. You can take the train from Union Station in downtown Denver and enjoy a cocktail (or two) while you ride through the mountains and drop into the Colorado river canyon. Glenwood is home to the Hotel Colorado, an establishment rich in history and amenities. Teddy Roosevelt enjoyed it so much that he made it his temporary home during his presidency! I love the natural Hot Springs, but the spa is world class.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
As an artist, our careers tend to evolve with our journeys. I began photographing weddings, then after I had children, I found myself working with families more often. My husband opened a snowboard store in a resort town, and I began shooting snow sport events and competitions. After more than a decade of owning a successful photography business, my world completely shattered after a messy divorce. Suddenly all the joy in my work vanished in my camera felt so heavy. I relocated to Denver in 2014 and one of my good friends invited me to Denver Fashion Week. Deb Henriksen is a sustainable streetwear fashion designer, and she asked me to document her runway segment. I never imagined the exhilaration I felt suddenly standing in the photographers’ pit at the end of the runway. The music pounding, the models stomping towards me with their wild hair… my heart was racing and I felt like Alice in Wonderland falling through the rabbit hole. My addiction to fashion was born that night, as I wandered backstage through the hair and make up artists creating otherworldly looks on flawless visages. Deb introduced me to the designers: Mona Lucero, Gino Velardi, Deedee Vicory and Mondo Guerra. At the time I had no idea that I was meeting important, influential, international designers who would become some of my dearest friends. That moment was pivotal, both in my career and in my personal life. The quality of my work skyrocketed as I began experimenting with new equipment, learning studio techniques and working with publications. In the past five years, I have won countless awards, I’ve been published in magazines all over the world and am an official Vogue Italia submitter. I found my calling. If it wasn’t for my friend Deb, I don’t know if I would’ve found purpose in picking up my camera again, and I will forever be grateful to her for inviting me into the magical world of fashion.