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Meet Elisa Ferrari of Claremont

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elisa Ferrari.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Elisa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Although my love for photos started at a young age, my path towards becoming a photographer was full of unexpected twists and turns. I was born in Argentina, where my father worked as a photojournalist. When I was just shy of two years old, he lost his job. At that time, the military coup, also known as the ‘dirty war’ had been taking the lives of many and my parents decided it would be better for our family to move to the United States.

We emigrated to San Diego, which is where I would spend the next 18 years of my life. Although my dad was never able to make a living again as a photographer in the US, he did set up a dark room in our bathroom and equipped me with my first camera, a Canon AE-1. I loved making and developing photos, but I loved music more.

My love for music grew, when at 10 years old my uncle gave me a guitar. I started taking lessons and writing songs. After high school, I studied music at UC Berkeley, but suffered through several injuries and quickly realized that performing Bach on a stage in front of a discerning crowd was definitely not for me. So, I decided to explore the intellectual side of music in graduate school where I earned a master’s degree in ethnomusicology at University of Texas at Austin. During my time at UT, I conducted field research in northeastern Brazil for my thesis project. Rather than just writing a long paper, I also filmed a documentary short based on how local groups were blending regional folk music with pop music. Working on the project was a wonderful revelation.

I discovered that the photography bug had never really left me, and that what I had enjoyed most about ethnomusicology was being introduced to someone else’s world and having the opportunity to ask questions and document a story.

Although I was admitted to the PhD program for ethnomusicology, I decided to go back to school for photography at Austin Community College instead. After my first semester, I was completely hooked. As a photographer, I felt more comfortable being behind the camera and more like myself than ever before. It just felt so natural. At the time, it seemed like a drastic career shift, but as I sit here now and reflect on it, it feels like it all happened so organically.

And, as cheesy as it sounds, transitioning to a career in photography felt like it was just meant to be. I feel like in a way, ethnomusicology led me back to photography and prepared me to view it in my own way.

Has it been a smooth road?
Finding my niche in photography was not a quick process. Luckily, I have always known that I am a people person. I am fascinated by the different roads we chose to take and sometimes the way that our paths unexpectedly change and we find ourselves in new places.

Not surprisingly, I am also still profoundly connected to music and the arts, so merging some of those passions with photography has been very rewarding.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My passions are portraiture and documentary photography. I love telling stories, either through a portrait series or an extended project, such as rebranding. I work with large corporations, small startups, and individuals. I think that my background in working with so many different cultures has helped me build the communication skills to form a quick bond and understanding with people, something which has been invaluable in my career development.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is a city with a ton of great talent, so it’s definitely extremely competitive. But, it’s also a city with an ongoing demand for photography and storytelling. I think that if someone is just starting out and they are up for the challenge, then it can be a great place to be a photographer. If you are professionally minded, good at what you do, and abide by the golden rule, people will recognize that, and seek out your work.

Contact Info:

Image credit for Elisa’s photo under headline: Cory Ryan

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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