Its Gonna Take a Long Time

November 11, 2011

I’ve never advertised before. In fact I was never a proponent of self-promotion. When I began to photograph commercially I really had no idea how to run a business but only that I knew I could take the pictures that would warrant running one. I started slow, following all of my favorite bloggers and writers and photographers on the internet. I poured over any and all information that could propel me into internet stardom. I started Facebook albums. I wrote my own blogs. I was given the “How to Build Your Own Website for Dummies” book and handcrafted code line by line four times over to create what my website is today. When I came back to New York City I jumped on any and all jobs I could find. I photographed nightlife parties. I ran around the city on the subway with my equipment in a messenger bag. I assisted at weddings. I bought professional lights. I took pictures every day. Then I hit the wall. I was making little to no money doing what I loved and finally had to take several other jobs to be able to pay any sort of bill that was coming in. I lost my momentum completely. I began to think that I shouldn’t be trying at all. I worked at ABC Kitchen for a year and a half before that feeling started to turn itself over. Before the wind smelled clear again. I began to see my photographs happening. They would appear to me out of nowhere. Down a Long Island City alleyway. A rooftop sunset. Simple pleasures that were mine for the taking. I started booking weddings and shoots again. I remembered to trust myself.

I know that everyone has their success story.
But this is not a story of my success. This is a story about how to get up and keep going.

I’ve had the same business cards for three years. After reading a few articles over at Matchstic, I made the decision to rebrand my cards into something more tangible. An object of affection.  I make my living off of my sight and my intuition. I needed a card that would help me create a piece of myself to show others how I see the world. I used Moo Business Cards to accomplish my vision. (Who by the way I am now obsessed with. Rounded corners, double sided cards, beautiful accurate coloring, and thick cardstock- ohmy!)

I also for the first time ever this year decided to run a couple of advertisements. This is the latest one from the November 2011 issue of the Chronogram. Heres a peek !

In a moment of pure and open honesty, I’ll admit, I am not nearly where I’d like to be professionally. I may not have all of the latest gadgets or the fanciest flash website, but one thing remains the same as when I ventured into this. I’m confident that I know how to take the pictures which warrant running this business.

So I’m working on it.

As Mayer Hawthorne reminds us,

Its gonna take a long time,
Its gonna take it but we’ll make it someday.


Jeanna and Dan

October 26, 2011

To get to know me a little more, heres an interview I gave at the end of 2008 with a younger student studying at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. The project was to interview a professional artist in their field and write a paper about how art and business coincide. I plan to create a new “About me” section on my website and this will be one of the components of that page, but I wanted to let everyone see it first and get some feedback!

Teresa: What inspires your photography?

Samantha: My photography is inspired by so many things its very hard to list them all. For me it’s a very loaded question because everything in my environment is inspiring. The sound of trains running on their tracks and whistling their bells late into the night inspires me; walking through old book stores and touching their bindings, reading words that people have written who have died many years ago inspires me; the sun- the sun and the moon are both huge keys of inspiration for me-and their many forms and shapes- the way that a sunset is the same concept but will look different each time you see one. Art, window panes, the people who are close to me- also all things that inspire me. All of these things get filtered through my brain and when I’m out shooting, its those types of inspiration that provide me with strength and a calm mind. Thats one of the things that noone seems to talk about when doing these kinds of interviews- but its not just the ‘things’ themselves that are inspiring, but the fact that these things are beautiful to me, and its not so much that i look to them for inspiration or for me to try to replicate them, but that they integrate into who i am as a person and as a photographer. They help me find that place, that state of peace where I can be creative.

Teresa: How do you use polaroid film to its full advantage?

Samantha: Polaroid film is great, there are so many fun quirky things you can do with it. I begun shooting polaroid film just for my snapshots.. if i wanted a fun set of people or things on the street, polaroids weigh next to nothing and lets face it, who doesn’t like watching a photo develop in front of them. Only the last two years or so I got into the alternative processing motifs and found ways to create polaroid emulsion lifts where you lift the actual emulsion of the print off of the polaroid paper and harness it to another surface.. it could be newsprint, tuperware, even a pillow case- anything you want really. This was amazingly fun for me because when form supports content thats the photographers little inside joke. For example, when you take a picture of a cat lets say, and then polaroid emulsion lift it off of the paper and stick it to an empty litter box or a food bowl, its like “ha ha ha” what a cute joke. However, that is form supporting content and makes for a great little installment if put into a larger series. Another example would be a picture of a candle on a lightbulb, or vice versa.

Teresa: How do you exhibit your creativity with Bridal Photography?

Samantha : Bridal photography is a new and exciting form of photography for me. Its definitly grown a lot since the posed pictures with the bride’s huge trains fanned out in front of them. Dont get me wrong, we still do those! But in addition to all of those “formal shots” a lot of brides nowadays get a wedding photographer and personal style shoot all in one. A lot of the weddings we shoot brides will rent space at gardens or at the George Eastman House, or even take us to the park and we’ll do a whole lot of fun shots with the bride and groom , as well as each of them alone, and their bridal party. Its great when brides play in front of the camera, posing, laughing, getting picked up by the groomsmen. There are a lot of fun ideas that both us as photographers, as well as them as brides have ( having seen different shots in magazines, other photographers websites, our websites, etc).

Teresa: Do you think living in an urban area most of your life has influenced your work in any way?

Samantha: I definitly think that living in an urban area most of my life has influenced the way that i shoot. I love ruins, old buildings, graffitti, parts of the city that some people might not know about or might not think to go, and im already there in my mind thinking about the shots that could be gotten. However I also think that living both in an urban area as well as in a country/ rural area have influenced my shooting style because i love shooting in nature and greenery. There are different ideas for shots that come to mind when im in an urban area as opposed to a suburban/rural area and i definitely feel blessed to have the inspiration from both.

Teresa: Did you always want to be a photographer?

Samantha: I didn’t always want to be a photographer. In fact, I wanted strictly not to be a photographer for a long while because it was my passion, something I did because it called to me, something that calmed me down, something I could meditate on- both shooting in the field and in the darkroom editing. I thought that if I began to pursue photography full time, my passion for it would wane, and it wasn’t until later that I realized passion does not corrupt when put to the test, it only becomes stronger. Still, as far back as I can remember there has been photography in my house. My mom would tell me that when I was younger I would steal the photos from her albums to have in my room! It wasn’t enough that they were in the albums, I needed them in my room to be closer to me. Well now we know why !

And because no post is complete without at least one image, here are some images from a few weekends ago. I invited some friends of mine from Brooklyn to the country and we had a ball! To see all of the images from that weekend, click here. We went on a few hikes and during one of them found an abandoned ski resort and and a lift that hadn’t been operated in eleven years ( almost to the day ! ).