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Life & Work with TJ Snider

Today we’d like to introduce you to TJ Snider.

Hi TJ, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I first picked up a camera back in the good ol days of Myspace (yikes does that age me!?) When it was “cool” to get your father’s DSLR camera and take a selfie in the mirror. After that I began my deep dive into photography I was quickly inspired from various fashion magazines, and of course ANTM (Americas Next Top Model) I would ask my girlfriends in High School if they would come over and do a photo shoot. What started as a fun weekend quickly turned into an every weekend thing as the ideas and concepts poured into my head. I embraced it and would take my sister’s old dance costumes to create unique concepts and fashion editorials right in my backyard of Erie, CO. Trips to Sephora became frequent as I was saving paychecks to buy false eyelashes, bold eyeshadows and more. I explored more “selfie” taking any time my friends couldn’t do a shoot and would often test concepts out with myself before having a model.

Around my junior year of High School, I started exploring local magazines and reached out to 303 magazines about the possibility of having an internship. To my surprise, they said yes! It was funny meeting the editor of photography in a local bar only to have him realize I was 17. Balancing AP courses and an internship only made me want to dive deeper into the world of fashion and creation. With two perfect scores of a 5 under my belt for AP Art in High School and having my “Selfie” displayed at the Denver Art Museum as part of the Scholastics Art and Writing showcase, I knew I wanted to continue my pursuits and attend the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Going to art college opened my eyes to a world of collaboration with so many creative and talented visionary’s. I would not trade it for the world.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Ha. Ha. HA! Let’s just say to this day I am working two jobs Monday-Sunday… not in the creative field at all. Like everything in the art world, it’s hard. Anyone will tell you it’s hard. You have to have the motivation to create and you have to have the will to create. For myself, I have realized recently (Since moving back home from Georgia in 2020) that even though I am not picking up my camera to create something new every day…You must have a creative outlet somehow. For me recently that has been getting back involved in the Denver Fashion scene and this time being in front of the camera. I reached out to my friend Charlie Price (who is a MAJOR influence to all things fashion and fabulous-ness here in Denver) and we first began creating unique fashion editorials that I got to photograph for Beauty Underground, and Fashion West magazines. It wasn’t until Charlie asked me to model for an editorial alongside the amazing local designer taking Denver by storm Matilda Marginal. With the Cherokee Ranch & Castle serving as our background, the editorial photograph by Chad Chisholm turned out stunning and even recently was published in PUMP magazine. Since then I got the opportunity to walk in Denver Fashion Week for Marginal. A full-circle moment for me being a part of something so spectacular produced by 303 magazines. To me, all these opportunities serve as a reminder to constantly surround yourself with creative people to inspire and help you learn and grow. The struggles will come and go but Art and creation should never be a struggle and if it is pour your struggle into your art.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
If you ask me to photograph your wedding I will simply turn and walk away… Art school taught me that you either are commercial in your work (Which brings in the big bucks) or you are “Fine Art” with your work(Which may or may not bring in the big bucks). For myself, I have done the commercial work, however it just doesn’t hold true to my style and who I am. I’m still deep down that 17 years old fabricating images in my mind of high fashion editorials and trying my best to execute them. I love fashion, there is no better feeling than seeing your idea and fantasy come to life in images you create or that first breath you take right before you walk down a runway. I love merging the two…I think a dream of mine would be to walk down a runway surrounded by conceptualized images I created in my own vision. I like to take credit for creating the first “Artful selfie” however I think we can give the queen Paris Hilton the selfie queen title… Many know me for my moody self-portraits from my earlier years, all of which I created whenever I needed an outlet of emotion for. Genuinely it helped me cope through the struggles of high school life and juggling the emotions that come with it. Having a theatrical background as well, a lot of my fashion work can be viewed as dramatic but yet simple…I don’t think fancy equipment and lighting add to anything, I loath “High tech” photographers… to me if you can pick up an old 35mm camera and develop the film yourself and print it in a darkroom then I will consider you a photographer, it’s simple really, just start from the basics!

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
Being a Colorado Native I truly did not appreciate all of what Colorado has to offer until I moved away. Up-rooting myself and moving to Savannah Georgia for college opened my eyes to a new world, through college I had the opportunity to study abroad in the South of France as well, however anytime I came back home to visit my family I always was taken back by its beauty. You look west and there they are the beautiful Rocky Mountains. One of my first photoshoots moving back here in 2020 took place in the middle of eastern Colorado at the Colorado Painted mines, a place I didn’t even know existed and myself along with everyone on set was so taken back with how stunning the landscape was. I’m excited to explore even more of my home this summer, the one thing I could do without is the snow.

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Image Credits
Behind the scenes of Denver Fashion Week photography: Fernando Gomes

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