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Meet Cassandra Hanks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cassandra Hanks.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a video editor for a TYT network and photographer. I am from Texas and it all started when I joined Media Tech aka the AV Club in my high school after seeing their own film festival showcasing their work, something clicked inside of me that I felt inspired to be a part of it. I never had that feeling before for any other activity or hobby I’ve done so I know I’ve been on the right path since!

I learned editing and shooting photos and video through Media Tech. As I went through college, I participated in college filmmakers club, directed a film festival and worked part-time at the local post-production house. I learned how to convert video in all sorts of formats and I got to shoot video and photos out in the field. Memorable field shoots were shooting photos for Texas A&M football games, the Macy’s Parade and for TEEX Fire training school, the largest fire training facility for firefighters. The training facility would do huge fire explosions that were straight out of movies, where they would set explosive large fires to commercial airplanes, oil rigs, ships, buildings and even had a fake city known as “Disaster City” that featured a crashed train. It was surreal taking those photos and one of my favorite gigs I’ve ever had.

As I entered graduate school, I started to explore fine art photography. I created the photographic series “Alien Landscapes”, which were fabricated planetary environments of planets in our solar system based on data I had gathered from rovers, satellites, telescopes, and scientists. I recreated these landscapes through constructed photography. As part of my research, I consult with chemists to help visualize the chemical characteristics of each planet and then apply specially designed in-camera effects to photographically process this information. Materials in the series included several pounds of paprika, ash, condensed milk, salt and freshwater, dyes and paint.

As I moved to Los Angeles, my exploration of unusual landscapes continued. I started exploring the world of infrared photography and currently working on my next series. In addition, I am a video editor for TYT Network where I edit several shows and promos, and I fill in as a photographer when needed. I do event photography, headshots for the hosts and set photography for high profile guests on the shows.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s been mostly smooth with one large bump transitioning from Texas to California. I have had an amazing support from friends, teachers, family and mentors as I learn the craft of film making and photography. My biggest struggle was from when I graduated from grad school and trying to land the first professional job. I filled out thousands of applications, cold emails for months with little success. It was really hard to get a job to consider you in Los Angeles if you didn’t already live there and it was a big blow to my confidence. Fortunately, through my networking I was able to get an interview at TYT and they gave me a chance that I would be forever grateful for them. Being able to secure a job in Los Angeles before moving out was a huge blessing that I know I was extremely lucky to have and it made my transition much smoother.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I specialize in headshots, event photography, set photography and fine art photography. My fine art photography features unusual landscapes and specialized photo techniques. Archival editioned prints are available for all of my fine art photography.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is all about timing and the connections I made. Making myself openly available to new ideas, collaborations and stepping outside my comfort zone to learn new techniques is what I believe fuels my luck. In addition, being humble in my knowledge to learn and ask questions has opened a lot of doors for me in my life.

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