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Meet Milana Burdette of SOVO// Magazine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Milana Burdette.

Milana, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Venice Beach, CA. Being an introvert, I did not easily connect with many people and my parents had pressured me into pursuing extracurricular activities. All I did was hide under the bleachers with other lost teenagers. It wasn’t until my first hands-on experience in the darkroom that I connected to the absence of light and grew an attraction to the chemical odors. It was damp and cold and exactly what I was searching for.

The fact that I could freeze a moment for eternity and share how I saw the world around me was attractive. Although I tried my hand at sports and was enrolled in every activity, photography failed to grow monotonous. Following my high school career, life took its toll on me where photography was then shelved indefinitely.

Fast forward to my twenty-year-old self. By this point, I was still attempting to “find myself.” I interned at an art gallery where on occasion I would work the door of underground techno parties until 7 am, taking money from intoxicated party-goers and fighting off the police who aggressively demanded entrance without a warrant.One night, the host thought it would be best if I had a partner. I remember us talking the entire night about living in Los Angeles and how we wanted to do more with our lives. We then exchanged numbers and never contacted each other. A few years later, the same woman posted online in search of photographers for a printed publication. I hesitated since by this point I had given up on pursuing photography, for I was convinced that it was unattainable, but I gave in and reached out.

SOVO// Magazine has since taken off, where my beginnings as a staff photographer has lead me to now becoming Art Director, a position I never imagined myself in. I now work alongside powerhouse Creative Director, Farida Amar. We grew from two women in search for more to partners building a local art publication from scratch.

My first solo exhibition :philia, is set to open on April 20th and is the investigation into various paraphiliae and the psychology behind them as 16 x 20, black and white fine art prints enlarged manually in the darkroom. I also spend my time working on film and television sets as a member of the camera department.

I made the conscious decision to pursue a degree with a focus on Cinematography due to the fact that I believe that any art form is a practice that must be studied and mastered. Photography and Cinematography both tell stories through visual imagery. Both are expressions of self and of humanity, utilized to study the world around us.

I want to use film as a format to explore these ideas in hopes of presenting it for discussion.

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?
No, not at all. It still has not been easy. The daily struggles that I battle with is whether or not I should continue. Is this pursuit worth the pain and exhaustion? What if it doesn’t work out?

When the future is obscured, anxiety kicks in, and that is the perfect time to quit. I’ve come close to giving up on multiple occasions. But instead of entertaining the negativity, I continue onwards, and I laugh. I surround myself around those I can trust and who reassure me that the struggle is worth the hassle, and then I laugh some more.

I try not to take life so seriously because it’s already fueled with darkness and despair, but it doesn’t have to be. If you laugh about the hurdles, and you acknowledge how you feel when things don’t work out, it is easier to continue.

People forget that your emotions are temporary, and if you are uncertain that you can do it, give it a few minutes, and that feeling will pass if you choose not to indulge.

SOVO// Magazine – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am currently a staff photographer as well as Art Director for SOVO// Magazine, a quarterly limited edition print magazine which comes in a unique acrylic packaging, and is tailored to a theme or topic of interest. Experimental formatting and printing techniques allow the viewer to feel the magazine itself as an artistic experience.

SOVO// only publishes original photography shot on film, and all offset printing is undergone in Los Angeles. In addition to that, I am a filmmaker, utilizing experimental formats and I am a fine art photographer specializing in large format, 4×5 photography. I hand print my work in the darkroom and develop my own negatives.

The subject matter from my work focuses on psychological studies I find the most intriguing and is heavily influenced by the high contrast and drama of the Baroque period and German Expressionism, the deeply emotional themes of Romanticism and the minimalistic style that was Bauhaus.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Finding a group of other creatives who encourage each other to grow has become a rarity. The truth is that we are always competing with one another to get to the top.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have found a community, and for that, we have grown tremendously in such a short period of time. The proudest moment in my career so far is having the chance to share my successes with others.

My support system is what I value the most, and that includes my family because without them I would not be here. I now get to share my accomplishments with them, and I am forever grateful for their support.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Alice Bag, Fetish Psychology, Jewel Thais Williams, Sadie Barnette, Nedda Afsari

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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