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Meet Rich Marchewka of South Side Pictures in Valley Village

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rich Marchewka.

Rich, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve walked two paths most of my life. The photography path came first. I was 12, growing up in the South Side of Chicago when I fell in love with nature and scenic photography on family trips to Northern Michigan.

I was fortunate to go to a high school with an amazing TV department where I found a mentor, a director/editor who took me under his wing. As soon as I graduated, I took off to Hollywood to join his new company. Editing/post-production became my second path and gave me a career. By 19, I was editing national TV commercials. I spent 12 years editing commercials for auto manufacturers, studios, networks, tourism boards, you name it. But at the same time, I kept one foot on the photography path, spending whatever time I could to travel the world capturing images of Asia, Africa, and Antarctica.

I was in Vietnam when my photography took a turn. This was before the US had reestablished diplomatic relations, and the people in these small towns acted as they though had never seen anyone like me. I’d walk to the store, and 50 people would follow me. At one point, an elderly French Vietnamese woman tapped me on the shoulder, and when I turned to face her, I’m seeing a shot right out of Nat Geo. Click! Since that moment, I’ve been interested in photographing people. This opened my worldview as well as the door to a lot of amazing opportunities to do both humanitarian coverages as well as commercial work. I’ve worked with everyone from celebrities and international public figures to expectant couples and new graduates.

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?
To me, the road’s not worth traveling if there aren’t obstacles. You don’t learn nearly as much from success as failure. You won’t learn how to deal and you’ll never know who you are. My struggles look like most other artists. Self-doubt is one of the most common ones. A few years ago, the two paths I walked – photography and post-production – suddenly converged when I began directing. I already had all the skills to do the job. Photography had taught me how to work with talent and cameras, and post-production had taught me about coverage and everything that comes after. But despite that, I still doubted myself in those early days. Most careers just take time and perseverance for one to reach their goals. You have to want it and work for it. It is also important to recognize and listen to your mentors along the way. I am blessed to have had many, and I let them know how much I’ve appreciated their influence on me.

Please tell us about your business.
South Side Pictures creates commercials, promos, web content, corporate videos, print ads, and other marketing materials for ad agencies, studios, and more. We can do it all or we can do one part of it, whatever the client needs. The best part for me is sometimes I’m just the photographer, sometimes just the director, and sometimes I’m doing full production services for a shoot and working with a team of hand-picked professionals. The best part for our clients is that our team has done it all. I’m pretty sure there’s no challenge you could throw at us that would make anyone blink.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I think big changes are the name of the game for anyone in our industry now. We’re on a different planet to where we were when I first moved to Hollywood, and things are going to keep on changing. My goal, for now, is to stay on top of the technology, keep fresh, experiment with new techniques whenever possible, and do everything I can to bring our clients results above and beyond their expectations.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
©Rich Marchewka Photography

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