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Life & Work with Amber “Valley” Evangelista

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amber “Valley” Evangelista.

Hi Amber, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My mom introduced me to film photography when I was a little girl, she always had her Minolta film camera ready to capture all the right moments. She introduced me to all kinds of nostalgic cameras, instant pictures that were stickers, and classic Polaroids. I was lucky enough to be able to attend a summer arts program at CalArts when in high school and I took that opportunity to study photography and develop my own film and prints. As I got older, my passion for the fashion world developed as well. I had my first child while obtaining a degree at FIDM. I began to work as a Fashion Product Developer and working behind the scene of the runway on the side. Being surrounded by creativity always inspired me to put together projects on the side, coordinating photoshoots from my own designs. Eventually, I stopped working full-time for other design firms and started working for myself as a designer and photographer. What clicked for me when trying to capture the perfect picture was going back to film photography, just as my mom always had on deck (even though now she also has a DSLR). What always inspires me is my family, my kids, and my partner; they are what bring a sense of nostalgia to my photos every time I go out for a photo session. I live for capturing images that tell stories.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
There have been definitely been challenges like not being able to afford film because I have kids to feed and a house to maintain. Sometimes being a starving artist is not so literal in lack of food, but lack in resources to supply your work so your art starves instead. Sometimes the best projects are funded by yourself and have to be put on hold, but when you finally get it done, it’s even more satisfying. That’s why I was always a self-shooter, doing a lot of self-portraits because it was more accessible to use yourself as a subject and get creative and resourceful with what is around the house and finding treasures at the local thrift store.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a black woman film photographer who loves to capture portraits, a nostalgic moment using Polaroid, 35mm and 120mm. I am very hands-on with creating the envisioned mood board to come to life by building sets from curated and thrifted items, styling, sourcing locations, and most of all creating a natural environment for my subject to be photographed in. I’m super corny and laid back and generally love vibing with the people I work with. I love taking walks on trails, going on mini-adventures. Discovering new locations all over California is a favorite of mine, me and my family are constantly on road trips.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Be consistent, it may look like you are going anywhere but patience is a virtue. You won’t see your growth and others won’t notice how bad ass you are if you don’t put yourself out there. Literally, making a schedule and setting goals with timelines will be your best friend, I’m a sucker for planners myself.

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Personal photo (Portrait of myself in the orange grove) by photographer Baheem Devaughn all other 6 photos uploaded are taken by myself, Amber Valley Evangelista

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