Interview With Valerie Millett

The Arizona-based writer and photographer offers a new perspective on simplicity in art, the geology of landscapes and getting into National Geographic.
Interview by Tiffany Reed Briley

Valerie, out of all the female nature photographers, I have to tell you that you are one of my favorites, but for those who haven’t met you, how would you describe yourself?

That’s incredibly generous and I appreciate the kindness, thank you. You deserve a nod as well, as a very capable photographer yourself!

I am someone who craves simplicity in life, art, design and relationships. I get delightful fits of wanderlust and it is very freeing to just go where your curiosities take you. I have done this since I was a kid living in Southern California. I would take off and go explore. My favorite place is the Santa Ana River, which was close enough to walk to from our home in Orange County, California. I would catch tadpoles and raise them to frogs, then let them go. The ecosystems of the river fascinated me as a child. I still feel as an adult that sense of freedom I felt then. When the mood strikes, I focus on a place I have always wanted to see and then start the planning. Right now it is the Kuang Si Falls in Laos. A place I have to see, I don’t care how long it takes. A cycle that plays out year-to-year and hopefully many years to come.

In public, I am reserved and quiet. I usually have a few projects going on at the same time but I have learned that sticky notes can save one’s life. I may have a watercolor in mid transparent layer, photography assignments due, and trying to work out the timing for capturing the flowering Saguaros in the best light, like today or tomorrow. I am a thinker and a planner. When I am out in the field, I am stealthy and keep a low profile. I do my most disciplined work when I am out photographing alone. I love shooting with friends but I am definitely not as productive. I like to ...

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