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Meet Chris Blackwell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Blackwell.

Chris, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I owe it all to my dad. I started when I was 14 playing with a film camera, he had given me and I was absolutely enthralled. I would take these long adventures around the city shooting. My dad was a photography enthusiast and he’s the one that sparks the fire. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have a dark room and studio lights in my basement which gave me a lot of time to experiment with different lighting setups that I had seen in books by famous photographers like Peter Lindbergh, Erving Penn, Richard Avedon to name a few. It wasn’t till after college that I met a beauty/fashion photographer in Toronto that I really start taking photography more seriously and seeing I could take my creativity to the next level. For about a year I assisted him, and he showed me a professional light setup, how to work with models, MUA’s and stylists. I had a short stint as a wedding photographer but a few years later I packed up my stuff and moved to Los Angeles to work as a designer and photographer. The first job I landed was with Stila cosmetics where I did photo and runway shoots in LA/Miami and from there it snowballed into shooting for a variety of cosmetics companies such as Jessica Alba’s Honest Beauty, Julep Beauty, Limecrime, and Karamo Brown’s Mantl Men skincare line to name a few. Looking at my work now you’ll see that my passion is in fashion, beauty, and portraiture.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Before I was planned to leave for Los Angeles to pursue photography and design, my mom was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. That was a complete shock, it put my move on hold and I quit my job so that my dad could work, and I could drive my mom to the hospital for a month and a half for chemo treatment. Once she had recovered and was cancer-free, I made plans to move. Moving somewhere new isn’t easy especially when you don’t really know anyone. The first year was rough and I went through some depression for about six months. With the help of loved ones, talking about how I was feeling, and forcing myself to go to the gym I was able to overcome it. I really started to get my footing in my second year and any self-doubt I had about doing photography in L.A. was gone and it was all about meeting people, networking, and contacting agencies.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Chris Blackwell Studio – what should we know?
The focus has to be on yourself and where you want your business to go. My main focus is fashion, beauty, and portrait photography and I’m most proud of the progression I’ve made as a photographer. My style has evolved over the years and I’m constantly pursuing high-quality work and I really enjoy collaborating with a team. I’m most proud of my friends and family back home for always helping me I could not have done this without them. What sets me apart is a tough one, I think that I’m great to work with. I come in with a plan but I’m receptive to hearing what the team I work with has to say. I’m down to earth, open-minded, passionate and I hope that comes across on shoots.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The characteristics that have been most important to my success have been versatility, tenacity, curiosity, and attitude. Kindness can get you a long way.

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