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.

MEET. Rebecca Joelson


© Rebecca Joelson

Meet San Diego based photographer, director and producer, Rebecca Joelson.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
I am inspired by a lot of people I follow on Instagram. It’s a great platform to see art in many forms. Some of my favorites are: @aestheticamag @aphotoeditor @dustinlane @foundartists @partoscompany

What is your camera of choice?
I’ve been using Fuji’s GFX50s, both as my work camera and travel camera. I love the look and the resolution medium format provides. The color straight out of this camera is stunning.

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
It depends what I’m working on. Most of the time I ask my subject what they would like to listen to in order to put them in a comfortable and safe space. Some of my favorites right now are Leon Bridges, Trouble in the Wind, and Dr Dog.

Who were your biggest influencers?
My biggest early influencers were Jill Greenberg for her lighting and Annie Leibowitz and David LaChapelle for their environmental portraits. I’ve found that I enjoy creating expressive characters and love telling a story through color, locations, and cinematic lighting.

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
Before I decided to pursue photography as a career, I thought I wanted to be a teacher. Straight out of high school I thought a career in the arts was unrealistic. After earning my degree from SDSU, I never pursued teaching. A few years after graduating, I took a couple photography classes at City College, followed my passion, and began my career in photography.

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Clean
Calculated
Structured

When were you first introduced to Photography?
Growing up I had a variety of different film cameras. None of the adults in my life were photographers so I think the interest came from being nostalgic and interested in recording memories. Having a camera was my way to document my life as well as those around me. I still enjoy documentary photography a great deal although most of my paid work is more preconceived and less documentarian.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
Though I began my career as a photographer, throughout the years I’ve grown from shooting stills to also shooting motion. I’m a photographer but I’m also a filmmaker. I love both and can’t see myself not creating images in one form or another. Lately I’ve been directing a bunch which I really love. I’m quite opinionated with what I see and how I’d like to see it so directing is a solid fit for me. My years as a portrait photographer have given me a lot of experience communicating with my subjects which I think ultimately has made me a strong director. I also love to write and have been writing short films and creative treatments for commercial clients for years. The goal for 2019 is to shoot more of my personal work I’ve written.

What do you do when you get stuck?
When I get stuck, I stop and review what I’ve just shot and then I shoot more and always seem to find new perspective.

is your best marketing advice for your peers?
My marketing advice is: Do good work and be cool to everyone. People talk and a good reputation will take you far.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
Travel more, always take your camera with you, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, that is, as long as you learn from them.

Check out more work from Rebecca Joelson!

MEET. Stacy Keck


© Stacy Keck

Meet California based photographer, co-founder of @youbelonghereSD and APA member, Stacy Keck.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram? 
@danielnjohnson, a portrait photographer in LA. He captures movement and emotion in such a beautiful way.

@jessicavwalsh, a designer/art director in New York. Her #sorryihavenofilterimages series is hilarious.

@brinsonbanks, a husband-wife duo known for their creative portraits of creative
people. They share some great BTS moments in their Instagram stories.

@evanmcginnis, my boyfriend. He has such a good eye for capturing interesting
still-lifes and portraits. He also curates @found_film_photos, where he shares
images scanned from negatives that he’s collected at swap meets. The photos
are timeless and his captions are priceless.

Also, if you haven’t seen @dogs_infood, you’re doing Instagram wrong.

What is your camera of choice?
I shoot work stuff with a Canon 5D Mark IV, and travel/personal stuff with a Sony Alpha 7R.

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
My musical tastes are pretty eclectic… some might say schizophrenic. My favorite playlist features songs by Wu-Tang and Neil Young, if that gives you an idea.

Who were your biggest influences?
Since I didn’t go to photo school, my influences aren’t necessarily famous historical photographers. I’ve been lucky enough to learn from and be influenced by the community of photographers in San Diego who have supported my interest in photography and helped me learn the ropes along the way. John Durant, scott b. davis, Monica Hoover and Hailley Howard have been there as mentors and friends from the beginning. 

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I worked in public relations for several years, most recently in the Public Affairs office for Caltrans. I used to do live TV interviews on KUSI, very early in the mornings, wearing a hard hat and reflective vest. Feels good to be on the other side of the camera now.

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Genuine, intentional, honest

When were you first introduced to Photography?
At a young age, by my grandmother. She wasn’t necessarily the best photographer, but she was always taking photos of me and my family. When she passed away a few years ago, she left behind 18 albums full of photographs, all meticulously organized and labeled with the names of her subjects.

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
“Go out and fail. The magic happens outside of your comfort zone.”

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
I’d like to think that I can be a photographer in addition to being many other things. I’m in the process of starting a new project called You Belong Here, a creative co-working and event space opening this fall. There’s an area carved out for photographers to shoot portraits and small products, and collaborate with other members. Our vision for the space is that it will become a hub for all types of creatives to learn, work together and share ideas that will help small-business owners thrive. Follow along: @youbelonghereSD

What do you do when you get stuck?
Getting stuck is usually a sign that I’m spending too much time thinking about something, instead of feeling it out. My gut always knows what’s best, so typically getting stuck is just a reminder that I need to pay more attention to that feeling.

Do you have a favorite podcast?
A friend recently introduced me to Being Boss, a podcast based on the book of the same title by Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson. They talk shop with other creative entrepreneurs, offering guidance on business advice and lessons on self-care and finding balance.

What is your favorite curse word?
F U C K

What is your best marketing advice for your peers?
Work hard, be nice to people. Your work may be great, but there’s no better marketing than positive word-of-mouth.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
10 years: Relax, things are about to get really good.
20 years: Take it easy on the cheap vodka. 🙂

Check out more work from Stacy Keck!

MEET. Travis Burke


© Travis Burke

Meet Outdoor Adventure Photographer and  APASD member, Travis Burke.

Who are you following on Instagram? 
@redbull, @jimmy_chin, @metroskateboarding, @kookslams, @handsomerobinson

What is your camera of choice?
I just got the Sony A7riii. It’s just an all-around powerhouse for the diversity of things that I shoot.

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
I’m shooting in nature most of the time, so I want to be present in the moment and just absorb the sounds around me instead of listening to music.

Who were your biggest influencers? 
My parents and my grandmother, who inspired me to be creative and to do something that I was passionate about. I even named my adventure mobile after my grandmother Betty.  

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I had a number of different jobs, everything from scraping grease out of restaurant vents late at night to professionally editing photos.

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Nature, vibrancy, inspiration.

When were you first introduced to Photography? 
10 years ago while planning my first road trip to Yosemite.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing? 
I would still be doing something creative and artistic—something using my hands.

What do you do when you get stuck? 
I usually try to disconnect and spend some time alone in nature, often on a road trip where I have a lot of time to myself. I always try to disconnect from technology for awhile and be more present in the moment.

Do you have a favorite podcast?
How I Built This with Guy Raz. He interviews highly successful business owners and tells their backstory of how they got to where they are. 

What is your favorite curse word?
I make it a pretty big point to never swear.

What is your best marketing advice for your peers?
To stay true to yourself and to keep things organic. Marketing or advertising is often overdone and becomes really inauthentic.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
Facing your fears will lead to some of the best experiences of your life.

To read more about Travis visit our website.
To view more of Travis’s work and adventures, you can follow along here.

MEET. Myles McGuinness

9MF_8985-2retouch© Myles McGuinness

Meet San Diego based photographer and APASD member, Myles McGuinness.

Who are you following on Instagram?

@almackinnon @dananeibert @stevenlippman @chrisburkard @cole_barash

What type of music do you listen to when you’re shooting? 
It varies a lot depends on the location. Hopefully something with a local vibe. I’m always
discovering new music while traveling and meeting new people. I’m always like who is this? What’s the artist’s name? Then when listen to that song it takes you right back to that place or memory. Like in Aruba it was  “Makeba” by Jain, or Puerto Rico it was Nas & Damien Marley or Tahiti it was random song that I found on Facebook by Maddie Rogers “Alaska.”

Who were your biggest influencers?
My parents were my earliest influencers and certainly lit the fire.  Artistically the following artists have influenced me for various reasons: Mies van der Rohe – less is more. Edward Hopper – for his realism and simplicity. Edward Weston and Ansel Adams for their surreal landscapes. David Carson for unique vision and his never ending quest to break the rules of the game. Finally, Peter Beard’s unique collage-like photography,
diaries and drawing collections.

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
Living in a bunch of different places with varying cultural, geographic and personal palates inspired my sense of self-exploration, expression and art. This led to majoring in Graphic Design in college, and then a chance introductory photography class. Shortly
after, I decided to double major in both Graphic Design and Photography. Stints as an Art Director at top East- and West Coast advertising agencies followed for the next 15 years. I then decided to do things “my way,” began freelancing full-time and then jumped the fence from art directing photo shoots to shooting, them myself.

When were you first introduced to Photography?
My dad actually worked at the local newspaper as a photographer, and my step dad was a documentary filmmaker and mom also had been pretty crafty behind the lens. So I grew up around cameras and film making from a very young age. My first was a Kodak
Instamatic, which then led to an Olympus OM1, which I still have.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing? 
Creative Director or something related to the arts.

What do you do when you get stuck? 
Go surfing.

What is your favorite podcast?
nada

What is your favorite curse word? 
shit

What is your best marketing advice for your peers?
Know your niche

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
Dream bigger. Follow your bliss and trust the path your on is the right one.

Check out more work from Myles McGuinness!