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Meet Brianna Lopez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brianna Lopez.

Brianna, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am a freelance photographer and filmmaker. I began my creative career in 2012 when I picked up a camera for the first time. It was during my last year at West Chester University where I obtained my BA in English (Writers Track). For the next year, I toggled with the idea while making it a necessary hobby. At the time I was writing artist bios for people around the city, while also interning at a local radio station in West Philadelphia. Once I decided I wanted to pursue the camera, I was introduced to my mentor Brian “B. Kyle” Atkins. From day one Brian had me on every production possible where I immediately got my hands dirty in every department possible. From camera to producing, assistant director, editing, you name it. As this became somewhat of an obsession, I was still working at a local pizza shop in southwest Philadelphia and also working part-time at a PR firm in Delaware.

A close friend mentioned that she was thinking of moving to Los Angeles. In April of 2014, we took a trip and decided we would indeed move there. I told my loved ones I would be there for two months and as you can see, I am still here. Once I arrived in LA, I took off running making sure that I engaged in everything camera related. Craigslist was my best friend and I landed a job as an assistant to an amazing women named Christina Suter who is a real estate investment advisor as well as a small business consultant. Christina who I consider a mentor, has taught me so much and has been a huge force in my success in LA. At this time I was living in a room in a house owned by an Indonesian family in San Gabriel. I also has hired as an intern for the Palm Springs Photo Festival. I didn’t have a car so I was catching the bus to Pasadena to work for Christina and catching the bus once a week to intern in West Hollywood. This all happened within the first two months of me being in LA.

As I continued in this forward motion, many amazing things started to come my way including gigs and clients that would help me find my way. I was relentless and attended events, worked for free, traveled, you name it. I was determined to get there even though I wasn’t quite sure what the end result was. Amongst all of that, I loved to travel and would drive to places in CA where I began photographing and making travel vlogs. At this time I was assisting an underwater photographer by the name of Brett Stanely. Working for Brett allowed me to travel throughout California, which is where my love for true travel photography came from. Big Sur set off a fire in me that persists till this day.

Now four years later and many many other events in between, I consider LA my home. I am a travel photographer, photographer, filmmaker, writer and educator. I am just returning to the states from a 2 & 1/2 month hiatus in South America. In 2018 I was hired to teach photography for National Geographic Student Expeditions and Putney Student Travel. I led expeditions in New York and Japan. This year I will be leading two National Geographic Expeditions in New York and Japan. In 2019 I launched my own curated expedition titled I Belong Nowhere. This project has been in the making for the past three years. I traveled to France when I was 16 and remember the deep impact it had on my life. I want to provide other young adults with that same experience. The next excursion takes place this summer of 2019.

Between the years of 2015 and now, so much has happened and so much has changed. I am a huge believer in spiritual and personal growth and implement that in my programs and teaching. There are tons of moments that I cannot ever fit into one piece, but my life has been an amazing journey thus far and it seems to be getting better. Los Angeles is where my true calling has developed and where I’ll continue to learn and grow.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been a smooth road, but I will say it was surely better than it could have been. In the beginning, finding yourself in LA can be a doozie. The trick is having a direction even if you don’t think that you do. Me knowing what I wanted to do saved me a lot of heartaches.

The main struggles came from understanding the game of LA and the atmospheric way in which humans operate here. You eventually develop tough skin, but in the beginning, your naivety can be both a blessing and a curse. The financial struggle, in the beginning, is also an eye-opener as CA is most likely more expensive than your hometown unless its NY. Understanding how to make money as a freelancer at first isn’t fun but indeed pays off when you are persistent and never give up. Another struggle was learning to loose friends and be alone. Now I spend most of my time alone and truly enjoy it. Most of these factors will be receptive in our lives just occurring at different stages. I was born and raised in Camden, New Jersey and will say that coming from an urban environment gives you the grit and smarts necessary to maneuver in a place like LA. Your energy will be the guiding force in your struggles and how well you handle them.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am a freelance photographer that specializes in Travel and documentary work. When I am in LA, I work with clients that range from celebrities to nonprofits. Since the camera is my life, I make money photographing events, people, etc…

I am known for my travel work which mainly contrived of personal travel that allows me to develop the portfolio that I have today.

I am most proud of I Belong Nowhere, which is developing into an umbrella company that will house a travel photography workshop, podcast show, written pieces, and artists retreats. All of these endeavors are in the making and being produced.

What sets me apart is my innate need to go at my own pace and my fearlessness. Traveling solo has been a huge factor in how I photograph. I am also a lightworker and carry that energy with me at all times. I can feel people and places through my camera allowing people to feel like they are there, experiencing that same exact moment as I have.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
This is hard question because I believe everything happens for a reason. I am on an amazing path and feel like it all makes sense. There is nothing I could have changed that would have brought me here, its not possible. What I am and what I will be, will be because it’s supposed to be. My drive, passion, compassion, and empathy will be the same because that’s who I am. This question always trips me out because I cannot imagine what could be different about where I am. Indeed thoughts approach where this question would make sense, but again I don’t believe in my heart that it matters. If anything, what you can do differently is now. Only now can alter anything.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
©Brianna Lopez

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