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Meet Svet Jacqueline

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

Svet, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I got into photography in high school learning in a darkroom. It was more of an avocation until I was selected as a photography finalist for both YoungArts and Scholastics Art & Writing Awards in 2010. In 2012, I was featured on the HBO documentary, Masterclass, where I was mentored by Bruce Weber and had a show at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami. I went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University in 2014. I have been working professionally as a freelance photographer ever since, based out of Baltimore, London and New York. On a whim, I relocated to California in 2016. I am very nomadic and constantly seeking new experiences that challenge the way I document the world around me. Los Angeles has a sprawling uniqueness about it- I find myself constantly on my toes here, even four years later.

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?
In terms of being a transplant creative in a city like Los Angeles, I had a lot to learn coming in. As a journalist and a visual artist by trade, making a living in a commercial world with no connections was not easy. People took advantage of any weakness they sensed especially if it meant wiggling out of a financial obligation. I had to start approaching business more stringently and over time, I have become both incredibly strict and incredibly understanding with myself and my experience. My most predominant struggle has been marketing myself online. Social media has completely changed the way people in this industry network and get eyes on their work. I have always held strong to an aesthetic but my portfolio is very diverse. I learned how to construct and maintain a cohesive brand that highlights my creative approach to journalism.

Please tell us about Svet Jacqueline Photo.
I never leave the house without at least one camera. Whether I am working in the field covering a protest, shooting in the studio for a client, or shooting personal work- I am always shooting. I believe that is what sets me apart in this competitive industry. I never stop working and I am flexible and transparent with everyone I work with. That transparency carries itself into my practice and into the work I create. I put who I am in every photograph and it has evolved into a very authentic creative identity.

However, for me, being a photographer goes far beyond the camera. Art has the ability to impact the world we live in and even become a catalyst of change. I love seeing printed photography in books and public spaces which led me to start curating gallery exhibits and working as the photo editor for Curate LA in my free time. I just had the closing for my second solo exhibition in Los Angeles. The show, SHE /., is a collection of portraits as well as a short film that exemplifies the beauty of women & nonbinary subjects who face adversity due to their sexual orientation and/or disability. I am excited to continue to produce and showcase powerful and innovative work that allows me to grow and diversify my brand.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I can’t say for certain, but it probably ended with me getting stitches. I was a daredevil as a kid and always ran head-first into things. Maybe that is why I can’t recall something specific. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of stand-out childhood memories but I always knew I was adopted from a Russian orphanage and raised in the United States. The name S V E T is derived from my birth name, Svetlana. In a way, being adopted is my favorite part of all my memories growing up and it continues to shape my identity as an adult.

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