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Meet Downtown Los Angeles Photographer: Kate sZatmari

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate sZatmari.

Kate, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always had an interest in photography and gravitated towards it even when I was young. I remember taking the family point and shoot camera and photographing flowers, of course, they always ended up blurry as I was too close to them, the moon, which of course always ended up too small, as I was too far away, and pretty much anything else I saw. I asked my mom in grade eight to buy me a book on “How to See Creatively” and took off from there. I took photography classes all through high school, studied photography in college, got my business license and began photographing models in Toronto.

I always knew I wanted to live and work in either New York or Los Angeles, and after several years I decided to move to the West Coast and pursue beauty and celebrity portraiture. After building a portfolio of work I was confident in, I began to reach out to clients I wanted to work with and it has slowly built from there.

Has it been a smooth road?
I don’t believe any artist, whether photographer, actor, dancer, painter has ever had a smooth road. It’s a challenging business. It’s been said and an artist will hear more “no’s”, and receive more rejection in one year, than the average person in their entire life.

What are your plans for the future?
Immediate plans for the future are branching out and starting to develop new artists through portfolio critique and workshops. These will be made available not only to photographers but makeup artists. I love helping new talent and it’s been very rewarding to see the results after I’ve done so.

Let’s explore some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way. What was the most difficult part of your career so far?
The hardest time in my career was shortly after I moved from Toronto to Los Angeles, and recession kicked in. Figuring out the city, what the industry was about, where I fit it and making contacts was difficult enough in itself. My savings depleted and I faced a harsh financial reality. I went from running a very successful photography business, earning a middle-class families income at age 25 to taking a retouching job at $9/hr. You quickly learn what you’re made of in these situations. I pushed forward, worked hard, took every opportunity, every job no matter how small and rode out the “bad times”, which lasted for several years.

What about “Wow-moments” – any moments that stick out? Any moments when you felt like you had made it?
I don’t think you can every really say you’ve “made it”. The moment you do, you may get comfortable and stop pushing and discovering new things and expanding your creativity. I’ve worked on a lot of great projects but there have been two specific moments in my career that felt very surreal. One was an advertising shoot for La Prairie which was in Elle magazine in over 20 countries around the world. The other moment was my first billboard in Time Square in New York. It was a great feeling knowing my work has been accepted on such a grand scale and the amount of people that would be seeing it.

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