Based between New York City and Los Angeles, Thea Traff began her career in photography as a photo editor at The New Yorker, followed by TIME magazine, working in the editorial world for a total of eight years before leaving last fall to focus on building a portfolio of her own. “As I’ve determined my style and approach as a photographer, I’ve tried to fill some holes that I perceived there to be in the world of editorial portraiture; I felt there was a need for more emotive expressions and innovative gestures in many of the portraits I was seeing as an editor,” she explains.

With a deep interest in the psychology of human communication and connection, Traff has given significant thought to the ways in which photographers can foster connection between their viewers and subjects. She elaborates: “Showing vulnerability is how we connect with others out in the world, so I’ve figured that the more vulnerability we perceive in the subject’s expression or gesture, the more a reader will connect with the subject and their story. In other words, the more vulnerability, the more successful the image could be in establishing this connection.”

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