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Meet Kelsey Fugere

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelsey Fugere.

Hi Kelsey, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was always a creative kid. In kindergarten, we were asked to draw what we wanted to be when we grew up. Some kids drew astronauts, lawyers, doctors, scientists… I drew an artist. The intel that I had at a young age about my creativity combined with parenting that fostered that strength is how I became the artist I am today. My interest in photography started about 8th grade, freshman year in high school when I started to document every event as well as host mini photoshoots where I would do my friend’s hair and makeup and then photograph them. It was so innocent and fun and made so much sense. It wasn’t until a family trip to London when I was 17 years old where it all sort of clicked (literally and on the camera;). I had packed a Canon PowerShot handheld digital camera and found myself documenting everything. The way the light hit the buildings and the road and the interesting people on the street become frozen moments in time. At the end of each day, I would load my photos and apply color filters in the mac photo app on my laptop and put them together into a slide show as if I was presenting them for a thesis show or slideshow in a gallery. I remember adding in one of the Beatles’ hit songs to the background of the rolodex of imagery and showed my mom the gallery of images. She said, “wow, these are really good!” From that moment on, I never put the camera down and continued to strengthen my eye and see things that most people would pass by without even a thought. It all started to make sense on that trip to London that my gift was my eye and my ability to find and create beauty in the mundane and it was so clear that photography was the best medium for me to do so. The Kurt Schwitters saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is one that I still hold close to my heart.

After that family trip to London in the summer of 2007, I started applying to colleges in the fall a few months later and decided that I wanted to go to a Liberal Arts school and I would without a doubt major in Photography. I ended up at Loyola Marymount University and there, I studied Photography and Art History and picked up a gang of art friends in the process. Fast forward to post-graduation. After some fumbling around for about a year in between a few temp. jobs, I ended up at an interview for a position for “Marketing Photographer” at an e-commerce skincare and beauty company called Dermstore in El Segundo. I did a few rounds of interviews feeling very under-qualified for the role (as you are when you first graduate college with no real experience). The woman that hired me became my mentor and I became my most determined teacher. From the day I started, I told myself “your goal is to teach yourself lighting and to master it to the best of your abilities.” For two years, I played in the studio and shot product day in day out and since I was the “Marketing Photographer” it was my job to shoot beautiful product and model images for the quarterly print catalogue. It was the most amazing experience I could’ve asked for and that time was such a valuable piece of how I got to be creating what I am today. After working at Dermstore for two years, it was acquired by Target and the growing pains of that transition were a mirror of my own growing pains of feeling the need to stretch my creativity and inner entrepreneur mindset and move into the freelance realm. It was a huge risk, but I took the plunge and have never looked back! So, eight years of freelance aches and pains later, here I am; opening my wings into a beautiful butterfly.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
For the most part, I’ve been blessed with a pretty smooth road but for me, the challenge lies in constantly adapting to the marketplace while also remaining authentic. I think social media is an amazing tool for creating and maintaining interpersonal relationships but in a world of constant visual stimulation, I’ve had to remind myself to stay true and authentic to my brand and the storied I am trying to tell.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a freelance photographer and I specialize in shooting products and people mostly in the skincare/beauty/wellness industry. I am known for my vibrant use of color and ability to bring mundane happenings to life. I shoot both on location and in studio and for a lot of my product photography, I operate out of my home studio. I believe my business model as a photographer is unique in that I am able to offer streamlined solutions from start (creative consulting) to finish (retouched deliverables) of the creative process to provide clients with high-end marketing content.

What does success mean to you?
To me, success is freedom. The freer I am, the more authentic my creativity flows. Over the years, I’ve become much more resilient and the things that I used to take offense to or get defensive about usually don’t really bug me anymore. In every area of my life, I am working towards the practice of non-attachment to outcome. These non-attachment practices are continual reminders to enjoy the ride and the people that are alongside you for it because at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters anyway.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Credits Floral Collaboration with Monika Bukowska ElizabethTyson for Banila Co Beverly Famous MUA Morgan McDonnell Brendan Cameron Meaningful Beauty Textures for Em Cosmetics Patrick Ta Willow Battista for LimeCrime

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