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Meet West Hollywood Photographer: Stephanie Mathis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Mathis.

Stephanie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I came to LA like many of us – with dreams of success in front of the camera. And while I certainly was fortunate enough to dabble in acting and modeling work early on, I knew that I was looking for something that would give me more creative control. While in college I had a professor suggest that I step behind the camera — once I did, I was transformed. From there, I began shooting portraits of my friends and gradually developed both my style and business acumen. There were a lot of stops and starts and u-turns, but I found my way eventually!

Has it been a smooth road?
There have been both logistical and creative roadblocks along the way. First, you have to develop your ability – it takes time and experience to really know what you’re doing behind the lens. And time is a luxury! After college, I would bartend nights and spend my days shooting. It was awhile before I was able to create images that were truly dynamic and expressed my own unique visual style — much less anything that was financially viable. It’s a huge investment – you’ve got to be in it for the long haul.

What are some of the influences that have played the biggest role in your journey so far?
There have been so many people over the years that have influenced me — brilliant instructors who taught me the craft, fellow photographers, and artists who helped to guide and shape my vision, strong entrepreneurial women who showed me that it’s okay to kick ass and take names from time to time. Above all, of course, the biggest credit goes to the unconditional support and love that I received from my mother. She has always encouraged me to take the risks, to ride out the ups and downs with a smile, and to always follow my dreams down whatever road they may lead me. So at the risk of being extra cheesy — Thanks mom!

What type of clients or projects do you look forward to most?
Of course, everyone has dream clients, but anytime I have the chance to truly collaborate on a great idea with great people — that’s my ideal situation. I am actually (just today!) able to talk about a crazy fun book project that I was a part of for Sara Blakely (the founder of Spanx) and Christie Turlington’s Every Mother Counts charity. I had the opportunity to shoot some really amazing mothers-to-be for a great cause. And they let me get a bit weird and just play around — that was a blast. Check out the project here: http://www.bellyartproject.org/ More press here: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/a5267820/belly-art-project-sara-blakely/ and here: http://www.today.com/parents/spanx-founder-s-belly-art-project-celebrates-pregnancy-t103776

If you could start over, what would you have done differently?
Nothing really. Every misstep and deviation from the path has brought me to where I am now. If I had to choose something, it would be that I wish I had shot more volume when I was first starting out. I’m a ridiculous perfectionist, so I was always hesitant to just take me camera out and shoot, shoot, shoot in fear that it would all be terrible. It took me longer than I would have liked to convince myself that it’s all part of the process. I’d like to think I’m much more laid back these days…

Contact Info:

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Image Credit:
© Stephanie Mathis

 

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