Stephen Devries Photo
I’ve been a photographer since 2008, but that wasn’t always the plan. I grew up with two passions: animals and art. When it came to picking a career, I figured science was more practical, and I started as a veterinary science major at Auburn University. Unfortunately, I had to give up on my vision of one day working with rare species at a world-famous zoo when I lost interest in some of the required courses. I decided to pivot and changed my major to art. I spent a few semesters trying out mediums—ceramics, painting, drawing, print making—and landed on painting with an emphasis on mixed media and found objects. I first picked up a camera to incorporate photographs into my encaustic paintings. I was instantly hooked, and after taking the only photography class Auburn offered at the time, I decided to transfer to the University of Alabama at Birmingham to major in photography.
In Birmingham, I started supporting myself as a wedding photographer and worked on getting experience in portraits, still life, food, and architecture—I wanted to try it all. I also started doing pro-bono documentary work for nonprofits, mostly overseas. Those projects led to a year-long contract with Times Square Church in New York City running the media team for their missions office. That job took me all over the world.
After my year in New York, I decided to wind down weddings and look for more commercial and editorial work. Thanks to Birmingham Magazine, I got to try a number of different types of photography, and food and still life stood out as my favorites.
As a food photographer, I loved the team aspect of each project. Shooting weddings, it was usually just me and an assistant, now I get to collaborate with food and prop stylists, art directors, and graphic designers. That love for collaboration continues to fuel me. The bigger the team, the more excited I am about the project.
As I continued doing more food photography, I decided to build out a food studio of my own. We now have a 6,000 sq. ft. production studio that includes 1,500 sq. ft. if shooting space, a photo-ready set kitchen, and plenty of co-working space for clients and members of my team.
What started with me and a Pentax K1000 has now developed into a full-service production studio, Eleven Productions. With my staff of six, we can handle everything from pre-production to an in-house editing team. Our studio is also home to Winston, Alabama’s only Bolt Jr. Cinebot, which allows us to do motion control. While sometimes I wonder what it would be like to spend my days tending to crocodiles on the Sunshine Coast of Australia, mostly I marvel at where this winding path I’ve been on has taken me.
Owner / Photographer / Director
Senior Editor / Post Production Supervisor