MEET. Nitashia Johnson

© Nitashia Johnson

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.

MEET. Patricia Fortlage

© Patricia Fortlage

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.

MEET. Morgan DeLuna

morgan-deluna
© Morgan DeLuna

Meet San Diego based Photographer, and APA member, Morgan DeLuna.

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Poignant
Conceptual
Multifaceted

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.

MEET. Rich Soublet

Rich Soublet II© Rich Soublet

Meet new APA | SD member and San Diego based photographer, Rich Soublet.

Do you have a favorite podcast?
The one I’m on! Kidding. I’ve gotta go with Armchair Expert. Dax and Monica are great interviewers and always have interesting guests.

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Authentic. Purposeful. Emotive.

What inspires you?
That’s a big question. I draw inspiration from a lot of places. I’ve always had a very vivid imagination so books are actually a great source of inspiration for me.  Movies as well.

People inspire me. How we are able to thrive, often in spite of ourselves and the world around us, gives me a lot to think about and draw on when making images.

What’s your favorite thing about being a photographer?
Meeting new people and getting a chance to listen to their story. Using their story to tell a new one visually. I guess I could have just stories.

When you aren’t making photographs, what other pastimes do you have?
I’ve been a gamer since before there was a word for it. Video games, card games, board games… you name it. Really I like to play in general. It’s something I’ve always held close as being vital to a full life.

You can also catch me fawning over dogs and cats and every other animal I come across.

When the weather permits I like to strap a piece of wood/fiber to my feet and slide down snow covered mountains… doesn’t it sound a bit crazy when you describe it like that?

To view more of Rich’s work you can follow along here.

MEET. Inti St. Clair

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Back-of-girls-head-wet-bubbles-Inti-St-Clair-Lifestyle-John_House_Pool_0844-Edit
© Inti St. Clair

Meet the talented and inspiring Austin based photographer, Inti St. Clair.

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
Usually I ask the talent what they’re into. I really believe music has a big effect on vibe and mood. Thankfully, I like most everything, so I can get in the groove with them.

Describe your daily or weekly work habits. (Pre-Covid and currently)
Pre-covid I found myself typically working everyday, only taking a day off here and there. I would make time to workout everyday, but usually only for an hour or so. Now I find myself working out a couple hours a day, and taking weekends off. During the week these days I spend time culling my archives and submitting to stock, marketing to keep myself fresh on the minds of creatives for when a project does come up, and updating my portfolios that are online in various places (Workbook, Photopolitic, Komyoon, etc…)

Who were your biggest influencers?
I’ve had a number of photographer mentors throughout the years. Most of them have retired at this point, but I still value the lessons they taught me over the years every day. Jon Fenigersh, Stewart Cohen, and Johnathan Ross are a few of them.

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
Don’t get hung up on gear, don’t hire staff unless you have to. This has proved true time and time again. Gear can be rented, and I find I do my best work with natural light anyway. Crew can be hired too, and not having staff during recessions really makes it so much easier and less stressful to navigate your way through.

What have been some of the highlights and challenges of your career so far?
A couple years ago I had the realization that I’d reached all the goals I’d set out for myself, which felt incredible. Of course now I have new goals, because if you’re not striving to be better, you’re over, right? The challenges in this job are constant. Occasionally that can be frustrating or overwhelming, but for the most part they keep me going. I love facing a challenge head on; working through it, growing because of it, and succeeding in spite of it. As challenging as photography can be, it’s also constantly rewarding. Photography is never predictable and never boring, and I love that!

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I was a chef.

What do you want people to understand about the industry?
It’s constantly changing, and that will never stop. You have to evolve with it if you want to stay relevant and be successful. ALWAYS be shooting. Yes for clients, but mostly for yourself. All my favorite work was self produced.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
I don’t know exactly what it would be, but I know it would involve traveling the world. I’m not a 9-5 office job kind of girl.

What do you do when you get stuck?
Travel.

Do you have a favorite podcast?
Pivot.

What is your best advice for your peers?
Create community! Photography can be a lonely and isolating career, and it’s so important to create a community you can connect with to get help when you need it, bounce ideas off of, get help when you need it, talk you off the ledge in dry spells, etc…

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
Marketing, not making beautiful photos, is the #1 most important thing you have to do to succeed. Also, I wish I’d gone out on my own sooner.

What is a photographers role now that technology has made it so much more accessible to the masses?
It’s never been about the gear. It’s always been about how it’s used. Yes, there are many more amazing photographers than ever before, but there is no other “you”. I’ve done shoots with other photographers in which we’re essentially shooting the same thing, and yet we all make different images. I love it!

What do you see yourself doing in five years?
Ideally I’ll be getting more international photography jobs.

To view more of Inti’s work you can follow along here.

MEET. Marc Morrison

APA_Willie_Nelson_11© Marc Morrison

Meet Photographer and APA | SD member, Marc Morrison.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
Wow pick the top 5 — that’s a tough one but here it goes

@shayanhathaway – site for photographer Shayan Asgharnia his unique photographic eye and many topics that make you think🤙🏼
@yeserodrigueztx – site for an amazing aerial/drone pilot/shooter – did I mention that she is my better half?
@ramonarosales – site for super talented celebrity portrait photographer
@aphotoeditor – site where Rob Haggart assists in keeping all of us visual artists relevant
@strayrescuestl – site for St. Louis Animal Rescue. Really I have no ties to St.L but I’m passionate about animal rescue and what they are able to accomplish on such a grass roots level is nothing short of lifesaving!


What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
Another impossible question as this is a never ending list. Honestly it truly depends on who I’m shooting and where we are. Right now if I had my choice I would be spinning the new Run The Jewels – RTJ4 while mixing in Rage Against The Machine’s live record. When I’m shooting a musical artist I always touch base with their management to find out what they are currently listening to and go from there.

Who were your biggest influencers?
Albert Watson, Richard Avedon, Gordon Parks, Annie Leibovitz, Herman Leonard, Jim Marshall, Pennie Smith, Mary Ellen Mark, Les Stone, James Nachtwey and most importantly my mother who always had a camera with her and is responsible for my early interest in photography and the arts.

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
The best piece of advice I ever received was “You want to be a photographer? Ha! Forget about it there are already too many and you will never make it”. I was in university for photoj and working part time selling stereos. I made it my business to know the names of most of the photojournalists and commercial photographers in the city where I lived at the time (I’ll only say it was in Texas).

As it happens photographers love their quality stereos so I found my self face to face with a bunch of the local photographers. I can honestly say that knowing most of them was almost enough for me to change my career path.


What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I was super fortunate to be able to attend university and find my passion straight away. After graduation I continued selling stereos while shooting for UPI wire service and stringing for the two major papers in town at the time. After about a year I was able to go freelance 100% and I have been doing so ever since.

What do you want people to understand about the industry?
This is complex for me to answer. I’m currently mentoring two photographers in different stages of their lives. I believe that I’m doing everything possible to remain positive given our current professional climate. I believe now more than ever one must possess not only a tremendous level of proficiency in photography but you must have an unbridled passion as well. Every photographer I personally know is having to scale production sizes way down to meet budgets. This in turn means much more responsibility falls on our shoulders.

I recently read an interview on “The Luupe” featuring Annie Leibovitz’s manager Karen Mulligan. In the context of the interview she says “The budgets of ten years ago don’t exist anymore. It forces you to be more creative and become more collaborative.You have to think – if Annie doesn’t have those budgets any longer than what does that say about the rest of us?
 
To understand our business is to understand the technical aspects of photography as well the legal, financial, promotional, logistical and people pleasing skills we all must possess to make a run at being successful and oh yes take as many motion classes and workshops as possible.
  
If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
If I had the skill set I would be a drumming for a band that produces original high energy sound such as Slaves or Viagra Boys. When we were not recording or touring I would be working with every animal rescue organization that could use my help.


What do you do when you get stuck?
I get on the mountain bike and hit the trails hard. The beauty of riding on rocks and roots is that you can only think about what you are doing at that time. Once you take your mind off the ride you pay the price big time. It’s great to clear your head and ride off last night’s pizza and beer at the same time.

Do you have a favorite podcast?
Oh heck yes about a hundred but a few are: Disgraceland, Crimetown, Heavyweight, Noble Blood and The Ballad of Billy Balls

What is your best advice for your peers?

1 – Do not burn any bridges as the world is so much smaller than you think.
2 – Never accept a shoot unless you are 100% jazzed about it and willing to put in 100% effort
3 – Do not argue with a creative. If they envision one thing and you another — always give them what they are looking for and if there is time – shoot your vision as well. This is especially true with a new client and maybe next time around they will have more faith in you taking the lead.


What advise would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
Seize opportunities when they present themselves. I have been incredibly fortunate so far in my career as I have been sent all over the world on assignment. I think of the 20 years of traveling to some of the most beautiful locations in the world — and only a handful of times did I ever build in extra time to be a tourist — dumb, dumb, dumb.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow so you should absolutely make the most of your opportunities.

What do you see yourself doing in five years?
Within the last 5 years we have seen a sizable uptick in requests for motion along with stills projects. Adding a high quality very experienced video production team was one of the best decisions we have made. The ability to respond to so many different creative opportunities should keep us busy for many, many years to come.

To read more about Marc Morrison visit our website.
To view more of Marc’s work you can follow along here.

MEET. C. Fodoreanu

© C. Fodoreanu

Meet San Diego based photographer and APA member, C. Fodoreanu.

What is your camera of choice?
I have been using Nikon cameras along the years, currently I’m using a D850.

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
I usually shoot in silence.

Who were your biggest influencers?
I realize that everything I see, every image I connect with (ie. photography, painting, drawing) leaves a mark on me. I really like anatomical drawing from the renaissance period, such as Andreas Vesalius or Leonardo Da Vinci. I also like photographers who push the boundaries by creating a reality, rather than just depicting it – a good example is the pictorialism movement. I also tend to appreciate photographers who have the human body as their subjects.

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
Follow your instincts. Get to know your camera really well. Don’t be afraid to explore and make mistakes. Be yourself and create art that is true to yourself and not aligned to what is trending at the time.

What have been some of the highlights and challenges of your career so far?
My first solo show in 2011 in Boston, MA during Harvard Arts First festival. Also, having one of my photos on the front and back cover of the yearly UCSD School of Medicine art and literature magazine ‘The Human Condition.’ Additionally, I recently had a number of solo shows at Cornel/Henry Art photography gallery in Arts District Liberty Station in San Diego. I am the co-director of this gallery that I recently started in order to promote emerging local photographers. We are planing to showcase artists photographers who align their style with our vision statement. Besides offering to promote and exhibit for free in our gallery, selected artists also have the opportunity to be showcased online at Artsy, and in our semi-annual upcoming photography magazine ‘Cornel/Henry Sees’. Details can be found here. Also, I am proud to have solidified my online presence with a newly designed website and a strong following on Instagram.

Did you learn through experience, school, other?
I am physician by training, so I learn photography by trial and error. In a way I think that is a blessing, developing as an artist outside of any normative, institutionalized confinements. I remember the first time I held a camera in my hands taking photos of the mountain snow not knowing how to manually advance from one frame to the next, creating double exposures by mistake. Today, my style seems to refine towards long exposures photography, strikingly similar to those incipient double exposures.

When were you first introduced to Photography?
As a young boy, my father gave me an old rustic manual camera. He had been taking family photos with it for the longest time. The photos he took where very influential to me. I started taking photos trying to copy his style. They were all black and white photos of our family and friends.

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Poetry of light.

What is your best marketing advice for your peers?
Be on Instagram and Facebook.

Check out more work from C. Fodoreanu!

MEET. Stewart Cohen


© Stewart Cohen

Meet Dallas based Photographer, Director and APA member, Stewart Cohen.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
Top 5 out of the 6000 I follow? That is like asking which one is my favorite child. I follow photographers, filmmakers, models, designers, zines, hash tags of places I love. Instagram is the new encyclopedia of pop culture. I love it!! What about @toiletpapermagazineofficial  check that out 

What is your camera of choice?
Canon IDX-Mk2, Phase One, Red Helium and I always have a Fuji X-T3 in my backpack with me.

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
Varied mixed of Spotify playlists, depending on who the subject is.
Gravitate toward Mash-ups, high energy, fun stuff.

Who were your biggest influencers?
To name a few.
Robert Capa, Eugene Smith, Garry Winogrand, Henri Cartier Bresson, Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh, Jay Maisel, Ralph Gibson. Also my step-Dad who was a salesman and taught by example that life is about sales, subtle or not. You are always selling something.

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
It is a journey, not a destination. Some days are better than others but they are all better than hanging sheetrock.

What have been some of the highlights and challenges of your career so far?
Highlights include, getting jobs to shoot on all seven continents. Traveling to places I did not even know existed. But as I type this I realize that the continuing highlight has been all the people I have gotten to meet while doing this. I love interacting with people from all walks of life.  

As for challenges, learning business without going to business school. Doing it the hard knocks way.

Did you learn through experience, school, other?
I studied and got a great basis in University and then worked as a photo assistant for a few years. I loved assisting and learned about the real world of photography by living that lifestyle. I worked for Joe Baraban, Arnold Newman and Helmut Newton.

After being out on my own for a few years, I went back and studied film at USC which started me on a road to creating a career doing combo live action and still shoots.  This was 12 years before digital, we were shooting film so things were a little different.

When were you first introduced to Photography?
My dad tinkered with cameras when I was a kid but I started on my own accord  in high school

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I was a guitar playing long haired high school student.

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Honest, quirky, lighthearted

What do you want people to understand about the industry?
You know all that matters is that they like your images and you are fulfilled. The behind the scenes of the industry is probably like any other industry, parts of it are alluring and parts can be a little ugly.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
I’d be an Options Trader. (That is my hobby)

What do you do when you get stuck?
Exercise is a great way to get past stuck. I always keep pushing through and know that blue sky will emerge at one point. 

Do you have a favorite podcast?
American Scandal and How I built this.

What is your best marketing advice for your peers?
Be nice, make friends, be out-going, don’t burn bridges and put your money where your mouth is.

I have always bought placement in magazines that I though my market was attune to. I want the world to see what I shoot.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
Don’t listen to the naysayers. Go bigger yet. Don’t be intimidated to do anything. Remember it is not brain surgery, have fun every day.

Check out more work from Stewart Cohen.

MEET. Jamey Stillings


© Jamey Stillings

Meet Photographer and APA | San Diego member, Jamey Stillings.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
@andyandersonphoto, @michaelclarkphoto, @raniamatar, @itsreuben, @danielbeltraphoto, @kathyryan

What is your camera of choice?
I work extensively with both Canon and Nikon systems, on the ground and in the air respectively. Also, I shoot Sony for some situations… I really love the little Sony RX100vi! But, I can imagine shooting with (at least thoroughly testing out) a FUJIFILM GFX 100 in the not-too-distant future. I want to take one up in the air and see how I like working with it from a helicopter!

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
The sounds of the helicopter or airplane and the pilot’s voice…

Who were your biggest influencers?
OMG, there are so many! One thing about loving photography is being passionate about looking at, and being humbled by, the amazing work of others. However, looking at the imagery of others does not necessarily mean being influenced. For instance, I love the work of many other aerial photographers, both historical and contemporary – William Garnett, Emmet Gowin, Daniel Beltrá, David Maisel, Kasper Kowalski, Ed Burtynsky, for example… but when I am in the air, my vision is personal and intuitive.

As for other photographers being super human beings, I am blessed with great photographer friends around the world. Their vision, kindness and generosity always amaze me.

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I majored in art & art history in university, and then got an MFA in photography. My early steps, in the world of photojournalism, documentary and commercial work, grew out of these opportunities to learn new technical skills and develop a personal approach.

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Empathy, intuition, distillation

When were you first introduced to Photography?
I got a Brownie camera in Cub Scouts that I took on school field trips and family travels. In junior high, my friend and I built a darkroom using dad’s WW2 equipment. Guess it has been awhile…

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
Knowing why you photograph and what to photograph is more important and challenging than learning the technical side of the medium.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
Earlier in my life, I would have said an architect. At this point, I would seek other ways to focus on the important issues surrounding critical environmental issues, especially climate change. I love seeing great examples of “appropriate technology” – simple, low impact solutions to reduce our individual and collective impact on the planet.

What do you do when you get stuck?
I spend quality time with the family, and/or get on my road bike, go skiing or hiking. Getting out into the analog world is an amazing way to reset the psyche, soul and body!

Do you have a favorite podcast?
I have a lot, but a few include: Hidden Brain, How I Built This, Code Switch, This American Life, Latino USA, Revisionist History…

What is your best marketing advice for your peers?
Treat everyone you meet with respect and kindness. Always push to do you best and most creative work. Cross your T’s and dot your I’s.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
For more than 25 years, my personal mantra has been:

Each moment of choice is both an opportunity and a sacrifice.

If I could go back ten or twenty years? I would push even harder on my personal projects, my personal creativity, and always trust my intuition.

Check out more work from Jamey Stillings.

MEET. Donna Cosentino


© Donna Cosentino

Meet Donna Cosentino, a newly retired Photography professor, APA | San Diego member and founder of The Photographer’s Eye Collective in Escondido.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
I like the variety of genres and lifestyles I can check out on IG. I learn from everyone… @jgrantbrittain; @lorivrba; @paulnicklen; @mattblack_blackmatt; @waynemartinbelger; and a host of former students, other artists and working photographers from all over the world. I love IG.

What is your camera of choice?
My Rolleiflex twin lens. But I use my iPhone every day

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
Mother Nature  (but in the darkroom­–Blues)

Who were your biggest influencers?
I was influenced by street photographers (it was the 70’s after all) but also fell in love with historic photographers and processes so I let it all soak in.

Julia Margaret Cameron, Alfred Stieglitz, Carleton Watkins, and Anna Atkins are favorites from history. Certain books shaped my understanding of story-telling: Robert Frank-The Americans, Doris Ulmann-The Darkness and the Light, Bill Owens-Suburbia, Donna Ferrato-Living with the Enemy, Most importantly, Mary Ellen Mark for her way of seeing and relating to her subjects.  

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I was a floundering art student

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Connected.  Reflective.  Imperfect

When were you first introduced to Photography?
1971 in college by a cute boy with long hair and great facial hair. We became lovers. We are still great friends.

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
Be open. Practice your craft.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
I wanted to be a teacher at five years old. I became a Photojournalist, and then a teacher of photography. I loved gallery work as a teacher and now that I’ve recently retired from thirty years of teaching, I am a gallery director. I could never stop photographing or teaching or working with other photographers…it’s all part of who I am.

What do you do when you get stuck?
I go to the desert and breathe.

Do you have a favorite podcast?
ON Being with Krista Tippett

What is your best marketing advice for your peers?
Let someone help you edit your portfolio. You may not recognize images that need to go away.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
Low spots are temporary. Trust your voice. Don’t be afraid of love. Jump

Check out more work from Donna Cosentino.