Today we’d like to introduce you to Anastasia Stanecki.
Anastasia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am originally from the suburbs west of Detroit. After I graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oakland University, I came out to Los Angeles with the single goal of getting a production assistant job. After waitressing at a French restaurant for a little while, I was fortunate enough to get a Production Assistant job on a Disney movie with Tim Allen who my father knew from Detroit. I worked free-lance as an assistant on several films for almost two years, paying my dues, then began working as a development executive. By that time, I knew I wanted to be a producer and produced a feature film. It was unbelievable how much I learned, it was a great experience. Once finished with the film, Tim returned to stand up comedy and I began to manage his concert dates on the road.
As I was learning the business side of managing a comedy tour, we shot a pilot for a sitcom called Last Man Standing, so I was learning about network television at the same time. Through all of these fortunate opportunities, I used so many different skills I had acquired, but I wasn’t using the part of me I eventually discovered in my photography. So when my father gave me a Nikon D60 camera, I started shooting all the time and it truly was a creative awakening for me. Taking photographs was a reflection of who I was and how I saw things and I respected it greatly. I never stopped shooting. Musicians, comedians, families, weddings, couples who were trying to adopt children, healers, yoga teachers, new business owners, actresses, composers, engagements, on set during productions, pregnancy photos. I took lots of classes and studied great photographers. I received a scholarship to Santa Fe Photography workshops for shooting portraits.
On the last day of the workshop, our assignment was to take a photograph of an old stuntman. I expressed to him that I knew what I wanted for the photo, but I was a bit nervous. He looked at me and said, “who gives a shit if anyone likes your work, it’s not about them. It’s about you.” It was a great lesson for me. That portrait hangs above my desk to always remind me this work I do is for me and if someone else also happens to like it.. wonderful.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When I was learning my camera, I struggled. Once the mechanics of everything finally made sense, that understanding elevated my work. I think my biggest challenge is getting out of my own way. I constantly have to work on that.
Anastasia Nora Lee Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I own my own photography business. I love shooting all kinds of different things. I love editorial portraits, a portrait of someone in their element after visiting with them and learning about what they do. Few things make me happier than traveling with my camera exploring new places and meeting new people to photograph. I also shoot a lot of lifestyles. Lately, I have been exploring the family dynamic, whatever ones family may be, to capture a day in their life and document what that feels like. I have found families are one of the most beautiful kinds of love there is to witness.
I am always proud when I capture a moment someone cherishes and can give it to them. The shot of Frank and Caroline walking away from their wedding ceremony in silhouette was one of my favorites. Caroline was a flight attendant from Germany at the time and Frank is an amazing bass player, they met through friends, instantly fell in love and got married within 2 weeks of knowing each other. The wedding was on a Monday just before sunset with a group of friends standing around them behind the Observatory in Hollywood. I was behind them when they were walking away and looked up and saw that beautiful image of them.
I also am proud that I was open enough to try something new that I knew nothing about and discover this part of myself. The more I shoot and observe, the more I develop my point of view as a photographer. I have great respect for that.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success for me is doing what you love and are passionate about without letting fear or perfectionism stop you. If I am growing and continuing to learn how to be a better photographer, I feel I am successful because I am evolving creatively.
- Website: http://anastasianoralee.com/
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @anastasia0120
Anastasia Nora-Lee, Heather Stanecki