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Meet Trailblazer Emma Vagnone

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emma Vagnone.

Emma, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in a creative household. My father was an architect who would be creating new sculptures and paintings in his make shift studio next to the living room. My mother was an interior designer, who also would paint, write and sketch during her free time. I remember painting and drawing as early as kindergarten.

Fast forward into high school, I found a love for photography. My main struggle with painting and drawing was being able to make things look as real as possible. During my early years, I didn’t like the idea of abstract art, and I tried so hard to make things as perfect as possible. Photography was that gateway into seeing things exactly how I envisioned it. I was fortunate enough to have people in my life support me and encourage me to apply to art school for college (an option I otherwise had taken off the table), and it changed my whole perspective on art, careers and being a woman in a primarily male-dominated world.

Although I went to school for photography, I have continued to paint, draw, collage and create all different mediums of art. I am a firm believer in using your creative side as much as possible and to try new things because it can always blend into another form that you hadn’t thought of before. I started a side business (Just One Line), of abstract minimal line art. But my main career focus is on my photography studio.

Now, I am at a place in my life that I am incredibly proud of. I opened Headliner Studios with my photography partner and boyfriend, have great clients that I love to work with, and get to work full time on my art.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I try to be as optimistic as possible. I take every new experience (the good and the bad) and learn/grow from it. When I first started, there had been numerous times that man would talk down to me, make inappropriate jokes on set, or completely disregard me as someone who is skilled at her craft. This only pushed me to open my own studio and become the photographer I am today.

Women are strong, independent, astonishing and persistent individuals and I am proud to be one of them. My main advice to other women and young women much like myself is to move forward and rise above anyone who feels threatened by you. I wish someone had told me this in college when I was first starting out, but I am happy I have learned those lessons today.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Emma Vagnone Photography – what should we know?
My main focus in photography is commercial product photography. There are only a handful of really amazing product photographers in Los Angeles, and I am working hard so in time I will be one of them. Most of my clients are for skincare and cosmetics, but I really love to work on any project and branch into new sections of photography.

The biggest accomplishment in my life now is opening up Headliner Studios with George Berg. We are new and growing, but already we are moving into a bigger studio space and expanding our clientele. We like to work with any size company, individual, start-up, and even our close friends. The joy we get from photography is the powerhouse behind working and hustling so hard.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well-positioned for?
Every woman is well-positioned for any type of opportunity. It depends on what we are interested in, where we are in our careers, and what makes the most sense at this time. I am so happy to see more female-run companies and startups. I love seeing my friends, co-workers, mothers, and sisters going out every day and creating the life they want and deserve. Being able to talk about our businesses together, our ideas, paths, experiences! These are all things that are women supporting women which we can never have enough of!

One thing is that I don’t wait for opportunities, I create them. Go after what you want, connect with people, showcase your work! Don’t wait for someone else to invite you up, walk up there and show everyone you are there and deserve all the opportunities as everyone else.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Emma Vagnone Photography (photos), Just One Line (drawings)

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