Laina McWhorter is a Street, Music and Travel photographer, a vagabond, a mom, a wannabe rockstar and a really, really big nerd.
I began using a camera during the late 1980’s for its obvious function - to record what I saw. Communication has always been a struggle for me…a symptom of my severe PTSD stemming from multiple cases of childhood sexual abuse and rape between the ages of 6 and 24. The more I shot, the more photography began to take on a new function for me. It became much more than a way to document everyday scenes and adventures in my life, it became a way for me to process the trauma I experienced and communicate in a way I never could before.
By the 1990’s, my desire to experience life on the road, Kerouac style, grew so strong that I couldn’t ignore it. I attended classes at the University of Georgia for a couple of years before my insatiable appetite for travel and exploring took over. I traveled across America numerous times by working at music festivals and touring with bands such as the Grateful Dead and Phish. I even managed an epic, 6-week long road trip from Arizona to Alaska in 1998. My curious nature and lust for adventure led me to 47 out of 50 states in the U.S., Bali, Canada, Mexico and Grand Cayman Island by the year 2000.
I eventually went back to school and earned a BFA in Photography in 2004 from Arizona State University and went on to freelance for local and national publications. I spent 5+ years as the Staff Photographer of the Arizona Rollerderby League in the early 2000’s, earning myself the nickname, “Triggerhappy”. I even managed to travel to those three American states I had yet been to…securing my spot in the “All 50” club in 2017.
My work often offers a critical view of social, political and cultural issues and has appeared in campaigns for One Voice Community Center, Goodwill Arizona, One N’ Ten and Avanti Press, as well as publications and media outlets such as: The Advocate, Inspired Eye Magazine, Nailed! Magazine, Voyage Phoenix Magazine, Drift Travel Magazine, The Sun Magazine, Skin and Ink Magazine, Five on Five Magazine, Edge of Humanity Magazine, The Phoenix New Times, The East Valley Tribune, The State Press, SLAM Magazine, Tempe Starving Artist Magazine, HBO's original television series: Enlightened, GSNTV's hit television show: Skin Wars, CBS TV's Hawaii 5-0 and several books depicting the growing sport of women's roller derby.