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Meet Jessica Torres of Unreserved Photography in East Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Torres.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jessica. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started working at a craft cocktail bar when I was 22. A great amount of detail goes into a cocktail program, from the syrups to the garnish. Everything was always so beautiful and in our downtime, I would play around and photograph the cocktails. Through my former boss, Jason Schiffer, I met the Liana Cabrera, the founder of Islett Agency and interned for the summer of 2017. It was the first time I was able to get into other restaurants that weren’t where I already worked and I began building my food and beverage portfolio. I’ve been shooting in bars and restaurants ever since.

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?
I feel that when you’re working towards a goal or a dream, the road is not always smooth. I try to approach each challenge as a learning experience. Any failures or mishaps are devastating in the moment, but when I allow myself to step back and see the situation for what it is, I am able to adjust what I do or how I handle things in the future.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am a photographer who specializes in working with the hospitality industry. That ranges from photographing an entire menu to taking staff portraits and BTS in kitchens. Having spent most of my adult life working behind a bar or in a restaurant, I know the environment, the flow, and the nuances. I feel that it not only reflects in my work but makes it helpful when I step behind the lens. A lot of the time it helps break the ice when I work with someone new. Not only am I there to take a great picture, but I understand and appreciate the craft on the same level they do and we can bond before I even begin shooting.

My proudest moment since I started freelancing is when the first cookbook I photographed was published in November 2019. The best part about it was being able to share it with my family, who always encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

What were you like growing up?
I knew from a young age, I wanted to be an artist of some kind or a teacher. I sang (not well, but it was my first love), drew pictures, wrote poetry, and basically did any arts and crafts I could. I wasn’t a kid who could sit still, I was very active and loved playing outside. If I was indoors, I loved watching movies, music videos, and those 90’s documentaries about bands or singers. My cousin and I would act out different stories but our favorite was putting on a fashion show like the one from Selena. I was the happiest when I could be creative. I was a curious kid, always asking questions and observing my environment. Now that I am older, I recognize it comes from that part of me that loves storytelling. I grew up with lots of family around. We always had large parties and holiday celebrations, which is where I first started taking photos with my parents’ camera. My family in general has a lot of photographs and I used to (and still do) love looking at those photo albums. So, when I was old enough (about nine years old) I started capturing those family moments for myself to put in my own frames and albums. Even as a kid, I would ask whoever’s house we were at if I could look at their photos, it gave me a narrative to a time and place I could travel to just by looking at it.

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