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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© 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.

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!