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Meet West Hollywood Photographer: Mandy Pacheco

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mandy Pacheco.

Mandy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I always had a passion for fashion and photography. I began studying at Columbia College Chicago and Continued my education at the Los Angeles Center of Photography. I am currently pursuing a career in Fashion Photography; shooting for clothing and jewelry lines, but I also shoot fine art and female nudes.

Has it been a smooth road?
Education was a struggle for me. Because of excessive school costs, I was forced to drop out after only 1.5 yrs and massive debt. I moved to La in search of continuing my studies at a more affordable rate. After many years in the serves industry(and still currently), I was able to attend LACP for their certificate program. This affordable school is workshop based, making it ever ongoing. And they provide a wonderful work study program, where you can trade work for class hours, which I have continued with. I now have been working at LACP for 2 yrs in addition to the 1 yr of studying.

Has there been people or an institution that has played a pivotal role in your career?
Growing up mixed race in Wisconsin, I didn’t have much connection to my Mexican heritage. However, discovering Frida Kahlo at around age 11, helped me feel a bit closer to my roots. In addition to being visually arresting, I love Frida’s ability to express her own emotions as well as evoke her subject’s feelings through her art. So from an early age I’ve always been conscious that art is an expression, and a conversation between the artist, the subject & the viewer.

Obviously, everyone is constantly influenced by anything & everything they experience, sadly, being from a low-income family I was unable to complete college and experience all the positives from further education in Photography and Art.

However, in hindsight, this allowed to me to just be me and express myself how I wanted and learn by doing. It meant that I didn’t fall into the trap of imitation or became over molded by the schooling system.

I feel like this has given me a truer sense of self and allowed me to cultivate my own voice.

It was only later when studying at LACP that I sought comfort in seeing that there were other artists who express themselves in a similar way to myself but also enjoy commercial success. Photographers like Sarah Moon became an inspiration to me, along with Deborah Turbeville and Peter Lindbergh.

What type of clients or projects do you look forward to most?
I genuinely love to continually work on a variety of projects. Whether it’s more personal ideas, such as self-portraits and using friends as surrogates for my fine art work. Or shooting for independent boutiques’ clothing and jewelry lines, creating lookbooks, as well as doing behind-the-scenes/set photography and working with musicians.

I find that a mixture of projects keeps me fresh and inspired, but also allows me experiment and blur the lines between the different disciplines.

I’d like to bring my fine art style more into my fashion photography to create more depth and a unique identity to the work I’m shooting. I believe this leads to longevity in a world that is becoming increasingly fleeting, & instantly forgettable.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
When I wasn’t able to finish college due to just not having enough money despite working all hours, I took it pretty hard. I felt I was being cheated out of a proper education and I was forced to put photography temporarily aside.

Looking back now, it gave me a chance to work on other goals and grow as an individual.

Like having a more hands on experience with fashion management, while working at AKIRA Chicago. It also exposed me to real life experiences from difficult relationships, clearing my debt from college, and the daily struggle to find my place in the world.

Now when I shoot, I have so much more to draw from and to drive me on. As well as a better understanding of myself and ability to express myself both visually and verbally.

So I’d say I’ve now realized that not everyone is meant to take the same path. And that that is okay, in fact, it should be embraced.

If I was to go back in time and start again, I wouldn’t be able to do anything differently, nor would I want to as I’m happy with where I am now. I still have a passion to learn and evolve, but also have confidence in my own voice as an artist.

Contact Info:

0-image 1-image 2-image 3-image 5-image 6-image 7-image Picture6Image Credit:
Mandy Pacheco Photography
Models: Abigail Grohmann, Dae Starkweather, Serena, Stephanie Wagner, Gimlet Rivera, Kelly Wallace-Barnhill, self-portal and Gimlet Rivera

Makup: Crystal Watana, Jessica Zepeda, and Angelo Juliano Salon

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