APA San Diego and MOPA invite you to join us for a special evening presentation with three photographic artists to support and celebrate these amazing women and their cause driven work.
The panel will cover topics such as diversity within the industry, share their personal stories and experiences and discuss their creative process and activism. Our guest panelists include: Cara Romero, Nitashia Johnson and Morgan DeLuna
WHEN: Thursday, May 6th, 2021 at 4 p.m. PST
WHERE: Online | Link will be sent out upon registration
COST: This event is a fundraiser to benefit three youth organizations that each artist is passionate about. Your support will help raise funds to further the goals and mission of the following organizations:
Reserve your spot today click here! Not a Member? Our annual memberships start at $50! Join Now
ABOUT THE PANEL
Cara Romero is based in Santa Fe, NM, was born in Inglewood, CA and raised between the rural Chemehuevi reservation in the Mojave Desert and the urban sprawl of Houston, TX. Her identity informs her photography, which is a blend of fine art and editorial photography. Her award-winning work is included in many public and private collections internationally. Her practice is shaped by years of study, and a visceral approach to representing Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural memory, collective history, and lived experiences, from a Native American female perspective.
Donations will be made to Las Fotos Project.
Nitashia Johnson is a multimedia artist and educator from Dallas, Texas who attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She went on to become an alum of Texas Woman’s University in 2012 and the Rhode Island School of Design in 2015. She has a true passion for creating and combines her love for photography and design to help make a difference in the world. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Dallas Morning Show and she’s also the creator of The Self Publication photographic book series. In 2019, she became one of the first women selected for the Sony Alpha Female Creator-in-Residence program.
Donations will be made to The Smart Project.
Morgan DeLuna was born and raised in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, and relocated to Southern California in 2004. She has a background in the performing arts and was a precursor to her visual arts practice. Using a conceptual approach she explores the human condition and liminal space. Themes around the relationship between identity, appearance, and human connection are the focus of her work. Morgan’s work has been exhibited in spaces nationally and internationally including the San Diego Art Institute, Los Angeles Center of Photography, and FotoNostrum in Barcelona. In addition to exhibitions, her work has been in published in SHOTS Magazine and Diffusion Annual.
Meet APA | San Diego member, multimedia artist and educator from Dallas, Texas Nitashia Johnson.
Do you have a favorite podcast? At the time my favorite podcast is the African Folk Tale on Spotify. It’s so good and full of storytelling.
Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram? I would say that those people are: @tobishinobi – Photographer @Sidgejay – Animation and Performing Artist @notaliyahcydonia – Painter
I’m a multimedia artist and their work inspires me so very much.
What 3 words describe your photography style? Deep, powerful, and peaceful.
What do you listen to when you’re shooting? I’m very eclectic so it ranges from r & b, rock, pop, country, jazz and so on. Music can really change your mood and push you to create. I freaking love it because it inspires me to get going.
What inspires you? My lil big sis and the deep love she pours out to me. I’m also inspired by her and the hard work of others. The good energy found in them is really amazing. I’m inspired by all who love and support me.
What’s your favorite thing about being a photographer? Meeting so many great people. They all matter. Another thing is I get to create peace in such a crazy world.
When you aren’t making photographs, what other pastimes do you have? I love working on creative videos, being around family, connecting with nature, and drawing. I like to enjoy the little things, that’s what life is all about.
Describe your daily or weekly work habits. (Pre-Covid and currently) Whew, busy! My days are full of creative things. I teach African American art and photography at the university level once a week. I’m also a full time graphic designer and photographer. This consists of creating for a Dallas university and shooting for news outlets such as The New York Times, Dallas Morning News, NBC and the Marshall Project. During the weekdays I also set aside time to support my new non-profit The Smart Project and to work on my photographic book series, The Self Publication.
More work has come to me and I’m learning how to manage my time. I’ve started to really pay attention to what I take on just to make sure I can handle it all. By doing this It gives me time to experiment with other things. I just finished a great residency which forced me to understand myself and how I should plan my time moving forward. It’s ok to be busy but it is also very important to set aside some me time. This reduces the chance of you disappointing yourself and others. Take care of you first and the rest will follow.
Who were your biggest influencers? My teachers, those in my family who stepped up to support me during the tough years of youth, and the universe. My youth was affected by many things, my parents were not around and that can make things hard but with absence comes love and I thank the people who came in my life to help me when I felt so lost. Because of the help of others and the energy from our source of creation, I’ve grown into the artist and woman I am today. Thank you all.
What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out? Stay focused and in due time you’ll shine like wine.
What have been some of the highlights and challenges of your career so far? Confidence was a challenge. Navigating this world as the person I am, as a black person has been a challenge, a mental one. It was hard understanding who I was at first and because of that I found myself hurt from interactions or past trauma. My highlights deal with me overcoming and sticking with what I loved so much. I’ve met all kinds of people and I’m just happy that the good vibes of those who meant well of me overpowered any of the negative. I matter.
What were you doing before you became a Photographer? I was acting solely as a graphic designer, grad student and teacher. everything just pretty much came together as I continued my journey. My visual art led to my graphic design work, my design work introduced me to photography, and now my images have set up my wedding with video.
If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing? I would simply teach. Teaching is power and it is a great gift to give the world. You can really make a positive change in someone’s life, I know the strong good teachers I had in my life did.
What do you do when you get stuck? I go out in nature or listen to music. I rarely get stuck because my mind is always going and because of that I keep a notebook near me. Nature is my medicine.
What is your best advice for your peers? Never give up. There is only one you and that happened for a reason. Your purpose on this earth is different from the others around you. Love yourself, be kind to your soul. Create from the core and never compare yourself . Happiness is understanding that you matter and in your journey you are right where you are supposed to be.
What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years? This too shall pass and to let go of what is hurting you. You have work to do kiddo so keep your head up and fly high. You matter in this world.
What is a photographer’s role now that technology has made it so much more accessible to the masses? I feel that a photographer’s role is to show the beauty in the world that can be so cold. The strong will and passion can inform many and create unity in the areas most needed.
What do you see yourself doing in five years? Running The Smart Project, loving my family (with an additional new little human), and still creating in a way that shows others how valuable they truly are.
To view more of Nitashia’s work you can follow along here.
Patricia Fortlage is a female empowerment photographic long-form storyteller and fine art photographer. From her core belief that if you invest in women and girls, entire communities will be raised, Patricia has focused much of her photography career working with organizations doing just that.
From her powerful piece covering the female-led Othakarhaka Foundation in Southern Malawi to the stereotype breaking, female empowering Wonder, girl! Project, to an ongoing project depicting the often life-long after-effects of sexual assault on women, Patricia is promoting female empowerment one project at a time.
Do you have a favorite podcast? My favorite podcasts are meditation oriented, with my go-to being a meditation and trance podcast by Joseph Clough, a British hypnotist who lives here in San Diego.
Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram? That’s easy. I follow women that are making positive impacts on local and global communities (not just through photography): Stephanie Sinclair @stephsinclairpix, Lynsey Addario @lynseyaddario, Korie Picket @hoosierqueenkp, Emma Fitzgerald @em.chick, Ida Puliwa @ida_puliwa, Liliana Hueso @liliana_hueso_photographer, Mandy Pursley @bethesparkcosplay and so many more!!
What 3 words describe your photography style? I don’t really think in terms of photography style; instead, I simply strive to convey a clear and meaningful message. I think of myself as a storyteller and I really go for impact.
What do you listen to when you’re shooting? I’m a pretty Zen person, so if it is up to me, I like for all of my senses to be tuned into the people and the moment as the experience is unfolding, and music, because it can be so powerful in and of itself, can take away from that. That being said, most of my work is supporting groups that are working to better the lives of women and their communities… so whatever they are listening to sets the mood for the shoot.
What inspires you? Making a difference. I am just a worker bee. I work for the cause; my contribution just happens to come in the form of photographic support.
What can we do together to better diversify this industry? We can lift our heads and take a look at the world around us. There is a bigger picture. What is it? Who is it? We need to pull from that larger demographic. And we need to remember that photography is art. There is no “one way.” The fact that there have been ‘rules’ that get taught in schools and that there are particular aesthetics that have been rewarded again and again, it’s all nonsense. It’s all been made up. We all benefit from varied perspectives. We must find them. We must encourage those who do not look and think like us. It will make us all more creative.
What’s your favorite thing about being a photographer? Knowing I helped someone make a difference in this world. Or knowing I made a difference, myself. I recently had a young woman approach me about my Life Sentence project (Life After Sexual Assault). She had seen the portrait I did of a woman sleeping in her closet, along with the caption that talked about how common this is for women after experiencing such a trauma. This young woman told me that she had been sexually assaulted over a year prior and she had not told a single person about it because she thought she was strange for sleeping in her closet. Once she learned she wasn’t alone, she reached out to a therapist and her healing journey began (she has since shared her story with a couple of friends and her now fiancé). She had frequently thought about taking her own life before. That is a big change. One of my photographs did that.
When you aren’t making photographs, what other pastimes do you have? Pastimes? Free time? What are these things you speak of? In all seriousness, I am a person with a disability. I have Myasthenia Gravis, a neuromuscular disease, so my time outside of photography is focused on caring for myself and managing my disability as best I can in an effort to stay as healthy as I can. I am very motivated to continue my art for as long as my body will allow.
Describe your daily or weekly work habits. (Pre-Covid and currently) Pre-COVID, I was supporting locals’ programs in developing countries mostly. I was on the road (and in the air) a fair amount and in between I would have a lot of editing to do.
Currently, I am trying to continue with the Life Sentence project as social distancing will allow. I am also using the down time to work with my content expert (a therapist who specializes in sexual trauma) to be sure my project plan is sound and that I am getting the experiences right. I am also contemplating a book on Malawi. It is an incredible place that everyone should visit.
Who were your biggest influencers? My biggest BIGGEST influencers are not photographers. They are people like my father, who believes it is all our duty to help those with needs greater than our own. And some of my other influencers are not people at all, but experiences. I have experienced my share of discrimination and trauma, and there is nothing more that I want than to protect others from those same experiences. Although I enjoy shooting images just for the sake of photographing, I mostly do photography because of the cause, not so much because of the photography itself. That being said, I am overwhelmingly inspired by photographer Stephanie Sinclair. The work that she does is awe inspiring… truly, beyond words. Definitely look her up; you will thank me.
What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out? Pricing. I had the good fortune of receiving some mentoring from a very successful photographer who taught me about the psychological side of pricing. She had us both enter images in the local fair. She entered three amazing images (that she was known for), and I entered three images of mine (remember, I was a beginner so they were very bland). She put a price of $15 on each of her submissions and we put $250 on each of mine. Every single one of mine won first place in it’s submitted category and each one sold for $250. None of hers won or sold. Her point was that many people equate value with the price tag, so if you undervalue your work, others especially will, too.
What have been some of the highlights and challenges of your career so far? Highlights have been when clients contact me and tell me that they got the funding they needed because of my images, or that minds were changed, or lives were improved. You can’t beat that.
Many of the challenges I have faced have to do with the fact that I am female. I am often not taken seriously by male colleagues. It gets old being told which gear I should have, and even when they eventually see I have appropriate gear, they pivot to assuming I don’t know how to use it. Eventually they see my work and come to understand I have a fairly successful career and they warm up to me. It’s minor, but it is annoying.
There can also be challenges as a solo female traveler, especially with all of my gear and with some of the countries I am entering alone. I have learned to navigate fairly well, but it would be nice if personal safety wasn’t such an important concern at times.
What were you doing before you became a Photographer? I spent many years in the corporate world of mergers & acquisitions. It was grueling and rewarding at the same time. I really appreciate it now because it has made the business side of photography a snap for me.
If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing? If I were to start all over again, I would go to medical school. I have supported many medical teams as a photographer and they are absolute heroes, especially in the far reaches of the globe. Watching a life being saved is beyond humbling, and while I love that I get to support their work, my contributions are so miniscule in the grander scheme of things. I would like to do more. If I wasn’t mid-career, with a disability, I would probably give it a go even now.
What do you do when you get stuck? When I get stuck (in anything) I tend to swing my efforts to the opposite extreme. If something isn’t working and I keep trying and trying at it, I usually ask myself what the opposite approach would be, and I go there. For example, in bowling, if you throw a gutter ball, conventional wisdom tells you to move a little farther away from that gutter. But if you keep moving and moving and the ball still hits the same gutter, you best try marching right over to the offending gutter and start throwing from there. It seems opposite of what would work, but that different perspective often changes your whole approach.
What is your best advice for your peers? People ask me how to break into the kind of work I do overseas, and I always recommend watching the movie “The Pirates of Somalia.” It’s a little odd in the beginning, but it really is a career gem. I also recommend learning the business side of photography. Do that first if you can. And, be a person people want to work with. Customer service is key. Show up early, be flexible, remember who the client is. Under promise, over deliver, all that.
What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years? Believe it or not, 16 years ago, I had a plan, and it worked. I have been doing exactly what I wanted to be doing all this time.
That being said, one thing I wish I had tried was to become a combat photographer. As difficult as that likely would have been back then (especially being a woman), I would tell myself to put the effort in and give it a try.
What is a photographer’s role now that technology has made it so much more accessible to the masses? I think it is important to remember that every industry evolves. Technology is advancing at a breakneck speed so things will continue to change and many things will drop by the wayside. Cameras have become so good that many people have or will stop hiring photographers. Be ready to pivot instead of pouting. Most people don’t use a travel agent anymore. Photography is no different, so keep figuring out where the markets are and decide if photography is important enough to you to go there.
What do you see yourself doing in five years? In five years, I hope I will still be healthy enough to be supporting the programs that are so important to me… especially supporting the efforts of women in order to change entire communities.
To view more of Patricia’s work you can follow along here.
APA | SD is hosting a virtual roundtable focused on producing and shooting during a pandemic. Photographer Nick Nacca will moderate the discussion with professional photographers, studios, and production companies and share stories from his recent shoots. We encourage you to take part in the conversation about your experiences; what worked, and what didn’t. Learn what you need to know to keep your crew and clients safe through best practices, protocols and guidelines for a safe shoot.
WHEN: Thursday, February 11th, 2021 at 6PM PST
WHERE: Online | Link will be sent out upon registration
COST: APA Members FREE Non-Members: Pay What You Can, Suggested Donation $5 Registration directly supports events and initiatives for APA | San Diego.
Join us for an online event including photographic talk and presentation dedicated to his work and the recent release of his third book ‘In The Gold Dust Rush’, a 112-page book featuring a selection of Lee’s previously unpublished American black- and-white film photographs spanning 2008 to 2020.
A native of Southern California, Jason Lee is a film photographer, actor, producer, and director. Having established a successful career as a professional skateboarder during skateboarding’s pivotal late 80s and early 90s period, Lee would go on to pursue acting in 1994, which would lead to working in film, television, and voiceover, and with such directors as Kevin Smith, Cameron Crowe, Lawrence Kasdan, and Rebecca Miller. Despite retiring from skateboarding in 1995, Lee continued co-managing Stereo Skateboards with co-founder and former professional skateboarder Chris Pastras. In 2017, the two longtime friends celebrated the company’s 25-year-anniversary.
In 2002, Lee developed a passion for photography and dedicated himself to pursuing the medium as a creative profession. His photographic works have since been featured in multiple group and solo exhibitions, magazines, and books, one of which, 2018’s A PLAIN VIEW, marked the debut publication for Film Photographic, the Instagram film photography sharing platform and photography book publisher Lee founded in 2015. In June 2019, Lee hosted OK: Jason Lee Photographs at Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, his first ever solo museum exhibition. The exhibition showcased a selection of both color and black-and-white film photographs made throughout Oklahoma during a six-month period in 2018 and ran through December 2019. A book of selected works from the series will be released at a later date. In December 2020, UK publisher Stanley/Barker released IN THE GOLD DUST RUSH, a 112-page book featuring a selection of Lee’s previously unpublished American black-and-white film photographs spanning 2008 to 2020. In summer 2021, Lee will release a book of Galveston, Texas, photographs in collaboration with Galveston Historical Foundation, with Film Photographic to publish a second printing of A PLAIN VIEW winter 2021.
Hi friends. Gary Allard, APA|Chapter Chair here. It’s been quite a year. It is our sincere wish that you all have managed to stay healthy and relatively happy through this trying time. And with happier times in mind, we have put together our annual gift-giving guide for photographers. We asked our members to send us their top-rated gift-able items for you to share. Here are few ideas.
It was a big year for book releases and many of our members published some beautiful work. Photo books make great gifts for anyone and here is a collection that is sure to appeal to someone you know:
Bruce W. Talamon Soul. R&B. Funk. Photographs 1972–1982 ,A book Bruce describes as “a love letter to the music.” Bruce shared his experiences through an APA|SD online presentation recently. If you missed it, check it out here.
APA Member Todd Glaser has a beautiful book documenting his surf travels around the globe. PROXIMITY is a stunning collection of surf and travel photography.
Actor, filmmaker and photographer Jason Lee has published a photo book of black-and-white photographs titled In The Gold Dust Rush.It’s an impressive collection of travel images made with 35mm and medium format films.
APA member Rob Hammer has just released an ode to basketball titled American Backcourts, a collection of road trip photos built over the course of 8 years. It’s a nostalgic look at a favorite American past time.
Joni Sternbach’s now iconic book Surf Site Tin Type is an homage to a sport, a way of life and to the people who practice it. While the open editions are now sold out, Joni is offering special signed editions while they last.
Stocking stuffers and gear for the photographer or art lover:
Prints and merchandise from our longtime member and skate photography legend, J. Grant Brittain
Photographer friendly tools and bags: The Nite Ize “Doohickey” key tool and the SmallRig multi-tool are great everyday carry items for photographers. I keep them close, the Doohickey hangs on my keychain and carries my thread adapters.
These baby ball head adapters have so many uses and come in handy for many accessories with a 1/4″ thread (see Litra below).
All photographers need a safe place to carry gear; ThinkTank bags, packs and accessories are among some of the best. The Retrospective Series is a personal favorite of mine.
Litra makes tiny lights for big adventures. These LEDs are rugged, bright and waterproof to 60 feet. I have a few and I pack them everywhere. Pro tip, they are handlebar mountable and make great bike lights. And members can receive a 25% discount!
We hope this little guide helps spark some ideas or makes it easy to share with your loved ones. Thank you to all of our members for your support this year. We wish you a happy and above all, healthy holiday season. Be well. Be safe.
We want to thank all of the sponsors and participants who helped make the Untitled 2020 a great competition. Rosey Lakos, Director of Photography at Godfrey Dadich Partners curated the top 20 selections from close to 400 entries. And, we’ve partnered with The Gordon Parks Foundation and donated 20 percent of the entry fees to their Arts & Social Justice Fund. Below is the list of all winners and don’t forget to checkout the image gallery.
APA | SD & MOPA Present: Bruce W. Talamon: ‘A love letter to the Music’ An online event Thursday, November 12th, 2020 at 6 p.m.
APA | SD & MOPA welcome Bruce Talamon for a photographic talk and presentation discussing his book ‘Soul R&B Funk from 1972-1982’. Talamon will share stories from behind the camera while covering various artists such as James Brown, Donna Summer, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder.
About Bruce W. Talamon:
Bruce is a photographer from California. He grew up in South Central Los Angeles. His cameras took him around the world. Music, Editorial, Movies. He worked for People Magazine and was a Contract Photographer for Time Magazine. For forty-one years, he worked in the film industry as a Motion Picture Stills Photographer.
But before that, he photographed R&B Royalty from 1972-1982. It changed his life. On September 12, 2018, Taschen Books published BRUCE W. TALAMON: Soul, R&B and Funk Photographs 1972-1982. There have been numerous photo books on Jazz, Rock & Roll, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Elvis, and Dylan. There has never been a photo book published on Soul, R&B and Funk Music… until now.
Taking a photograph of a singer on stage is the easy part. The hard part is gaining the trust. From 1972-1982, Bruce Talamon was documenting the rehearsals and sound checks, the recording sessions and costume fittings, the quiet moments, life on the road, and of course the wild photo sessions and memorable performances.
Alone with the artists before taking the stage, or seconds after the last song, Bruce Talamon had total access and was never asked to put his camera down. He was there when they exhaled. From the smoke filled clubs on Crenshaw Boulevard and the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, to the largest arenas across the world, his camera recorded the frenzy and beauty of the music. He photographed all the usual subjects.
With almost 300 photographs, personal reflections and two essays, this book is a love letter to the music. It is a visual period in Black Music that lasted way past the midnight hour and will never come again.
Bruce Talamon’s work has been exhibited in the Brooklyn Museum, Corcoran Museum, Grammy Museum, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, Hammer Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Studio Museum of Harlem, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo (CA2M) in Madrid, Spain.
2019 was a busy year. He completed his third film for Tom Hanks as his Stills Photographer on the Universal Pictures feature film “News Of The World”, directed by Paul Greengrass. He was invited to join the Fahey / Klein Photo Gallery in Los Angeles and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC selected his photograph of Earth Wind & Fire as one of six portraits for the 2019 Portrait of A Nation Prize.
Currently, he is researching the visual legacy of African American photographers during WWII. He is also editing a book project celebrating African American Stills Photographers in the Motion Picture Industry.
Bruce Talamon is the fortunate husband of the writer and National Public Radio commentator, Karen Grigsby Bates. They live in Los Angeles and have one son.
Join us for a special online event ‘A Love Letter to the Music’ on Thursday, November 12th at 6 p.m. For more details and to register click here.
Not a Member? Our annual memberships start at $50! Join Now!
Meet San Diego based Photographer, and APA member, Morgan DeLuna.
What 3 words describe your photography style?
What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
I am crazy about pretty much every style of music, but it depends on the work. When I am photographing someone else, I let them put on whatever they’re into and allows them to feel at ease and confident. I shoot my self-portraits alone, so I select music that puts me in the right headspace for the image I am working on. I could be playing anything from Kitarō to Queen, Marvin Gaye, or Dom La Nena. Setting up the studio is usually something to get my energy up like Classic Rock or P-Funk, for shooting and editing, the selection shifts to the tone of work at hand.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by mystery, wonder, and transformation. I’m hyped anytime I get to perceive reality in a new and fascinating way. It could be environmental, like experiencing a new place, or intellectual, like learning about new ideas in science and history.
What’s your favorite thing about being a photographer?
The challenge of creating a visual that communicates feelings and ideas without words…I do also love that little flutter of excitement when you realize you got the shot.
When you aren’t making photographs, what other pastimes do you have?
I like to keep busy. I enjoy reading history and non-fiction books. Before the pandemic, I would spend hours at the library picking out way too many books to bring home. I spend time outdoors and take drives to the desert to stargaze. I dabble in blending essential oils for skincare. Lately, I have been re-watching seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Schitt’s Creek, Bob’s Burgers, and various standup comedy specials because I love to laugh.
Describe your daily or weekly work habits. (Pre-Covid and currently)
I begin every day with meditation and yoga. I am more creative in the later hours, so I use the mornings to tend to the business aspects of things. I take care of phone calls, meetings, emails, website updates, writing, submissions, social media, and so forth. In the afternoons, I’ll read, research, and sketch ideas. I also print and make natural light images at that time of day as the light in my studio is best then. I reserve the evenings for studio photography and editing. Pre-COVID, I would visit galleries and museums midday, and exhibition openings in the evenings. Now that things are virtual, I look at shows throughout the day.
Who were your biggest influencers?
My biggest influencers come from different aspects and times in my life. I was a theater kid and fortunate to work for years with a wonderful director, David Braddock, who studied under Marcel Marceau. From David, I learned how to use gesture and body language to convey an emotion or a story in silence. It takes patience, pacing, and thoughtfulness. I utilize everything he taught me when creating images today.
Annie Leibovitz is another one for me. Growing up, my Grandmother would pass along last month’s fashion magazines when the new ones arrived; I would pore over those pages for hours. Annie Leibovitz’s’ photos were my favorite. I loved her color palettes, compositions, and lighting. I think her single light work reminded me of stage lighting which, really appealed to me and became nicely saturated in my mind. Around this same time, I discovered makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin. I became very interested in makeup illusion and fascinated by beauty culture. I would look at the portraits in Kevyn’s books, Making Faces and Face Forward, religiously. After 23 years, they are still on my bookshelf. Later on, I became influenced by Frida Kahlo, John Singer Sargent, Flor Garduño, Imogen Cunningham, and Harry Callahan.
What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
I was struggling with a creative project when a friend and former teacher, France Marie-Haeger, gave me some guidance. She told me that sometimes there is nothing wrong with the idea, but with the medium. This advice freed me. I began exploring the concept and the aesthetic as a partnership rather than trying to jam an idea into a self-imposed mold. I allow the aesthetic to be fluid and work with the idea.
What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I was working at a gym to pay for art classes and supplies.
If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
I am an artist to a fault, the medium or form would be different, but I would still be creating. Art is my language, my soul.
What do you do when you get stuck?
Stuck for me equals too in my head, passing judgment on my ideas instead of just trying them out. When that happens, I ask myself “Where is the fear?”, ” What is the thought that is stopping you?”, then I either journal, meditate or go for a walk to work it out.
To view more of Morgan’s work you can follow along here.
Rosey Lakos is the Director of Photography at Godfrey Dadich Partners, an innovative storytelling firm based in San Francisco. She curates and produces visuals for editorial and commercial clients ranging from National Geographic and the ACLU to Nike, Google, and IBM. The work may take the form of a magazine, a billboard, or everything in-between. Prior to GDP, Lakos was an integral part of the WIRED photo department where she produced award-winning feature and cover shoots. Before working in editorial, she managed the production of exhibitions, books, and global artist workshops in the fine art photography studio of Todd Hido. A photographer herself, Lakos has a valuable understanding of the craft and is delighted that she has been able to create a fulfilling career from her obsession with the medium. She has also served as a judge for numerous competitions, including American Photography 35 and SPD 54. Lakos has formed a strong network of award-winning photographers across many genres yet is constantly looking to partner with emerging talent and offers 1:1 portfolio reviews and coaching to POC/BIPOC photographers. When not shooting blurry oceanscapes on her vintage Rolleiflex, Lakos is often in the kitchen experimenting with fanciful cakes (or, farther afield, riding a horse over a mountain). She holds a BFA in photography from California College of the Arts.
MEET. Rosey Lakos
Which photograph do you wish you owned if money was no object?
Well that is a very difficult question, because there are so, so many. But when I think of owning a piece I think of what I would want to live with and what would continue to intrigue me every day. I saw a piece by Dawoud Bey right before lock down called Untitled #25 that is a moody dark waterscape that I still think about. I would be happy to live with that one every day.
What is your process when selecting a photographer to work with?
Well it’s not always a linear process, and there are so many factors that narrow down possible options such as location, style and budget right off the bat. I am looking for someone that not only has the right technical skills, but also a personality, and attitude that will bring added value to the collaboration. Sometimes I get an immediate vision for how I see a story or brief coming to life and will think of a photographer whose work I know that would be a good fit right away. But that isn’t enough, because I am very conscious of my responsibility, and my privilege. Creatives are in decision-making positions, and have hiring power to determine how a story will visually come to life, and how it will be seen by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. It’s our job, and our opportunity, really, to shape and broaden what that looks like, not only by what is shown in front of the lens, but also by who is behind the camera. So I will push myself to dig deeper, keeping in mind how the photographer’s experience is going to add to the visual narrative. There are so many layers to the process, especially when working on an advertising campaign, that it really is like being a matchmaker.
What is your preferred method for a photographer to reach out to you?
I will never be mad if someone sends me an email. I can’t guarantee that I will get back to them right away, but it definitely doesn’t hurt. Other platforms like IG and LinkedIn are not ideal. And I always love a good piece of mail, maybe a bit less so during a pandemic, but normally I really enjoy receiving a beautiful printed object I can hold in my hands.
What makes a great photograph and what is your process when selecting images?
There are so many different things that can make a photograph great, but there is one thing that I feel all great photographs have in common, and that is the ability to evoke emotion. So I trust my heart first and foremost, and make sure that when I am looking at work I am tuned in to the gut reactions I am getting. I like to do one round of this kind of “listening” to do an initial sort of contenders, then I like to step away and come back to it in a few hours or even the next day to narrow down further.