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The Insider

The Insider: Halley Roberts

The Insider BY mattie kahn 10/22/2015


Want to catch Halley Roberts standing still? Give her a camera. Otherwise, chances are the photographer is on the move. She just shot the upcoming cookbook for New York hotspot Huertas and snapped beach babes in the Pacific for new indie brand Pali Swim’s lookbook. How to spot her when she’s home in San Francisco: She’s the one cruising down the streets on her skateboard or taking epic hikes into the hills.


Q: Is there another photographer whose work you’re excited about right now?


A: There’s an artist Tracey Baran. She died really young and pretty tragically, but her work is amazing. I hope one day I’m lucky enough to get one of her prints.


Q: What are the best snacks for a long hike?


A: Anything that has peanut butter in it. I tend to forget that I need to bring food with me. Then I hike for six hours, and by the time I get done, I just want to eat a burger. But peanut butter is good. A good PB&J with some homemade jam is the best. I get the peanut butter from the vat or the dispenser at the health food store that grinds it up for you. It gives you warm peanut butter too, which is just so satisfying.


Q: When was the last time you saw something photography couldn’t capture?


A: I was just in Utah. We went to the north rim of the Grand Canyon, which is the less visited part, because it’s really hard to get to. And the depth of the canyon is impossible to photograph. I took some photos and kind of captured it—but I realized it’s just not possible to get the scale.


Q: When the weather cools, what do you bundle up in?


A: Right now, I’m wearing Black Crane overalls. They’re this flannel-fleece combination, and they’re so comfortable.


Q: What’s the last gadget you purchased that legit works?


A: This is going to be so boring, but I just got this little puffer thing that you use to clean your mirror and your lenses on your camera and stuff. It’s really great. It’s not a gadget, per se. But it’s pretty essential.


Q: You have one night, $200 bucks, and no obligations. How do you spend it?


A: I’d go out for a really fabulous, expensive dinner. I really love Frances, which is one of our fancy go-to spots. I recently just went to Quince, which costs about $200 for every person, but it was the most extravagant dinner I have ever experienced.  


Q: What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever gotten?


A: My friend Christian gave me a great birthday present that I almost didn’t get. It’s a beautiful gray wool Peruvian blanket that the government likely thought was drugs—they opened it, searched it, re-taped it, and then incorrectly delivered to my neighbor. My amazing mailman knew my name and that it was a package for me, so I finally got it about two months later.


Q: Teach us how to take a better iPhone photo, please.


A: The best thing I can tell you is that you have to put your finger on the screen and hold it until it correctly exposes because the iPhone doesn’t know how to use exposure. Once you do that, you can make it darker or lighter by dragging your finger up and down.


Q: What is the most surprising thing in your medicine cabinet?


A: It’s all just hippie shit, so anything that’s not super hippie is probably pretty shocking. But, really, I love tea tree oil. It’s good for everything because it’s antibacterial. A lot of people don’t know that you can use it for cuts. I’ve had this dream for a long time of making a naturopathic first-aid kit, and I would replace all antibacterial stuff with tea tree oil.



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