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Meet Svet Jacqueline

Today we’d like to introduce you to Svet Jacqueline.

Svet, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I fell into photography in high school and have been working on and off as a professional in the field ever since. I received a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University in 2014, and eventually moved home to Baltimore, working as a freelance journalist and bartender. After being based out of London and New York the past couple of years, moving home to a familiar city left me feeling stagnant and unmotivated. I decided to move to LA in the summer of 2016. Six weeks later my car was packed, and I embarked on my next life adventure.

In terms of being a transplant creative in a city like Los Angeles, I had a lot to learn coming in. I had taken entrepreneurial and business classes in college, but I wasn’t fully prepared for the business component of being an artist. I moved out here with a good amount of savings and spent it quicker than intended in the spirit of carefree self-discovery. I moved three times in the first year, lived with an ex-con drug addict, and had every piece of equipment I needed either fail on me or get stolen… all the fun stuff.

That’s where being money conscious and having a steady paycheck would have come in handy and at the time, I had very few local connections or resources to use as a clutch. I had to embrace the bad luck and work even harder to surpass the learning curve. In my case, the quality of my work has always been a steady driving force. I have a strong eye for composition, a love for aesthetics, and an unwavering work ethic that have proven indispensable in finding my footing here.

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?
It has definitely not been smooth for me in any consideration. It didn’t take long to realize that in terms of making a living as a photographer, I was very far behind. Most predominantly so in creating and cultivating a brand. When I was in college, Instagram was nothing close to what it is today. Social media has completely changed the way you connect with people, get work, and brand your name as an artist.

In my case, the freedom to digitally market myself has been a weighted gift. I kept bouncing around and chopping up my portfolio more and more to adhere to various audiences online. I realized in time that as long as I was shooting strong content the outlets those images were going to could be as diverse as my time would allow. In addition, my inclination is not to be constantly plugged in so effectively engaging with a digital audience is something I am still having to work at. That being said, I do encourage young entrepreneurs to look for opportunities beyond social media because many of my opportunities have come from thinking outside the box in that respect.

Implementing an effective payment structure for my work was another practice I had to learn the hard way. As an artist; creating has always come first and collateral second. I was shooting most of my content for free or next to nothing to gain name recognition in a new network. Although doing so is important, you can’t allow it to undervalue your product. People will take advantage of any weakness they can sense especially if it means wiggling out of a financial obligation. It’s not personal, it’s business and an often ruthless one at that. It took me a while to start approaching things more stringently and with an understanding that my time does not come without a price tag and a contract.

Any freelance creative will tell you that compromises are essential to financial stability in this industry. You either have to compromise your time, your voice, your paycheck, your sanity or a combination of all four. Prioritizing your work and trusting your instincts when it comes to managing your time and resources is crucial. Implementing structure and forcing myself to adhere to a routine has been challenging. Making personal and professional compromises is a life-long trade-off, even at high levels of success. I try to focus on refining the elements of my life and work that I can control in hopes of less compromising down the road.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I specialize in people- shooting them and understanding them. Working with clients isn’t always easy and gaining their trust is the most important. People who shoot with me or work with me; trust me, my process and my vision. It is quintessential that trusts exists and is not taken for granted. Whether I am covering a protest for a publication, doing a project for a client, or shooting personal work- I am transparent and honest with everyone involved.

That transparency carries itself into the way I shoot. I believe that is what sets me apart in this competitive industry. My education and experiences guarantee a high-level product, but the heart and thought in my approach guarantee a high-level experience start to finish. I put who I am is in every photograph I take, and I’d like to think it makes my images more personal, candid, and visually dynamic.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career so far? That’s tough. In 2012, I was featured on an HBO documentary. It is called Masterclass, where I was one of a handful of artists mentored by Bruce Weber and had my work in a group show at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami.

Everything about that experience is something to be proud of. Most recently, I had my first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. Having a successful show in a city like LA is not an easy feat, and I think it really helped validify my presence in this city as an artist and an entrepreneur. I am excited to see what is to come for my brand and my work.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 120 S. Vignes St. Los Angeles, CA 90012
  • Website: www.svetjacqueline.com
  • Phone: 4109913891
  • Email: svetjacqueline@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @__svetj @acitizensgallery

Image Credit:
@phndrw

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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