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Rising Stars: Meet Sienna DeGovia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sienna DeGovia.

Hi Sienna, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Renee Anjanette and I started working together back in 2001. She was a photographer’s assistant and I was a Food Stylist’s assistant. We continued working together over the years as our respective freelance careers as photographers and stylists took off. We recognized in each other a similar work ethic, sense of humor and a desire to create art outside of the commercial work we were producing in the product and food photography world. In 2008, Renee rented a photography studio space in the Historic Hudson Theater building. When not shooting there herself, she rented it to other photographers for their projects. Both Renee and I loved the building at first sight. I was actually with her the day she went to look at it and we both felt an instant connection to the place. We continued working together on many commercial photography projects over the years with clients such as Chipotle, Halo Top Ice Cream and Beyond Meat.

During this time we also managed to develop a portfolio of personal artistic work under our creative partnership name; Feast or Folly. In 2022 the large space next door to her studio became available and we decided to make our long-standing work relationship official by joining forces to expand the rental side of her business. We spent a hectic four months renovating the new space to make it ideal for food photography or catered events. We added several kitchens and knocked down some walls to open it up. We ended up with three beautiful shooting/event spaces for rent in this historic building. We really are astounded at the progression of our paths that led us to each other and to this beautiful building. It has been quite a journey, and we are thrilled to embark on this latest adventure and to share Historic Hudson Studios with the surrounding community.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Renee and I have always had to figure out how to pay the bills first and make art second. We have struggled through the years to balance our desire to create meaningful work with the reality of raising families and living in this expensive city. I was raised right here in Hollywood so I have more of a support network, but Renee is from Missouri and has been on her own for a long time just trying to keep all of the balls in the air. Over the years we have both worked very hard at commercial careers in the photographic world and have had some significant success. We have both raised children while working full-time. Somehow, we have also found time to make personal work along the way. I would say the biggest challenge has been learning how to balance it all. There really is no way to have it all, ALL the time. We have both had to be patient with each other and ourselves when one or another aspect of our lives wasn’t moving as quickly or working out as smoothly as we would have liked.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Renee and I have a huge body of commercial work that we have created over the years but we are most proud of the personal work that we have created under our partnership Feast or Folly. When we make work for Feast or Folly, we allow ourselves to explore any idea that strikes our fancy. We create images that are humorous and dark and make you take a second look to really grasp what’s going on. Much of our personal portfolio, like or commercial work, involves food. We use food photography to examine different aspects of humanity that we find upsetting or ridiculous. Because we have so many years of technical styling and photography under our belts, we are able to create irreverent images to the highest commercial standards.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
I think the most important lesson we have learned in our business and friendship relationship has been to fully trust one another. It is only by trusting that we truly have the other’s best interest in mind, that we have been able to take such giant risks in our careers. Starting Historic Hudson Studios is a huge financial risk, but there is no one I would feel safer doing it with than Renee and I know she has similar trust in me. We really want the other to not just succeed but to enjoy the process along the way.

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