micaela hoo photography interview

by sophie kalagas

Inspired by the images she posted on her blog, the Drifter & the Gypsy, San Francisco-based Micaela Hoo set about trying to capture the dreamy, vintage aesthetic she was drawn to. Since then she's gone on to snap for fashion spreads, as well as dipping her toe in nature photography and quirky portraiture.

We asked Micaela a few questions about the wistful shots she takes.


What is your name and how old are you? My name is Micaela Hoo and I am 19 years old.

Where were you born and where do you live now? I was born in Long Island, New York and currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

How does where you grew up and where you live now affect your photography? I grew up in Connecticut in a small suburb outside of New York City. The town I grew up in is very preppy and traditional. This contrasts greatly with the bay area. I live in a much more innovative and forward thinking area now. I think this affects my photography in that I am always trying to find unique stories to tell. So many artists reside in the bay area, it's hard not to be constantly driven and inspired to delve into bigger and better endeavours. Beauty is all around us; it's just up to the artist to showcase it to the world.


What areas, things or people in your neighbourhood do you most like to photograph? I most like to photograph old houses, well-dressed people and children.

What do you shoot on (digital or analogue) and why do you choose to use that type? I primarily shoot digital, but lately I've been getting into shooting analogue photography. Analogue photography possesses a timeless quality that cannot ever be replicated by digital. Digital is perfect for quick snapshots because you don't have to be as sparing as when you use film.

Is there a certain camera or type of film that you wish you could own? I've recently acquired three Polaroid cameras and I wish I had an endless supply of Polaroid film to use! Polaroid film is so expensive.


Is there a running theme to the work you create, or do you just make whatever comes to mind? I always try to come up with some sort of back story for my images. However, sometimes it doesn't always go according to plan and I see some other story emerge from my images.

What kinds of ideas and things are you working on at the moment? I am obsessed with anything from the '50s,'60s and early '70s at the moment. I could do photo shoots inspired by those eras indefinitely.

What kind of subjects interest you the most? I like people with interesting features, old houses and old knick knacks; anything that has a story behind it.


Do you prefer to create set-up photographs, or just wander the streets until you see a photo? A combination of both! I love the control you have in setting up a photograph and seeing your concept come to life, but I also love the spontaneity of capturing an unplanned moment in time.

If you were to teach a photography appreciation class, what kind of lessons would you try to teach your students? I would tell my students to go out and shoot like crazy first - forget about proper technique, for that will come in time. The important thing is to learn about composition through trial and error; that's what I did.


What are some of the challenges that you are facing in modern times as a photographer? A lot of the local drugstores and camera shops where I get my film developed have stopped developing film, so it's a struggle to find a place nearby to get my film developed.

What is the strangest thing or thought that has inspired a photo? A cluster of dead flowers thrown out alongside the road by my neighbour's house. Of course I picked them up and used them in a photograph.

What other budding photographers do you love? Candace Meyer, Ann He and Hana Haley are a few of my favourites lately.


What do you enjoy doing when not taking photos? I am a Graphic Design student at Savannah College of Art and Design through their eLearning program. I run Drifter & the Gypsy blog as well. School, photography, and the blog take up all of my time. Oh and I like to run and swim. I'm currently training for the San Francisco half marathon in June!

Where can we see more of your work? My website and my blog.

fancy some weekly
frankie in your inbox?

oh hello there!

fancy some weekly frankie in your inbox
(with access to special exclusive giveaways)?
just enter your e-mail address to sign up.