Interview: Photographer Angela Ruscheinski

What started your passion and pursuit of being a photographer? 

How I started into photography is sort of backwards from most. It seems like the usual progression is to start shooting as a hobby, fall in love with it and then work towards making it a business. I went in the opposite order. I decided I wanted to be a wedding photographer when I was 20. I wrote out a business plan (which I’m sure was laughable) and presented it to my Mom in hopes of convincing her to lend me the money for my first camera. She backed me on my dream and I began shooting for everyone I could, building a business as I went.  

How would you distinguish your style? 

I’m always aiming for an edge of sexyness in my work. I love warm, moody images with deep but vibrant colours and I like a mix between playful and intimate. 

What was your last shoot like? 

Last night I shot a session that was a real engagement, but also had a team of vendors collaborating on style. It’s so fun to be able to have creative input on colours and wardrobe and location and it’s a great feeling to have something come together that is a true representation of your own taste.

How do you determine the perfect moments to capture a shot. 

One thing I know for sure is that all sessions are different and if I tried to shoot every couple the same way, it would be uncomfortable or forced for some. It’s important to vibe off of what type of people they are. Sweet and reserved, outdoing or silly, my goal is to play off of who they are and to elevate and encourage that. 

What do YOU feel and see when you look at your work? 

I get nostalgic when I look back at past weddings. I build relationships with these people and I get to share one of the most important days of their lives with them. I see the connections and the personalities when I look at old images and I hope that they can feel the moment and relive those times that I’ve captured for them.  

What is your dream location? Our’s is the moon so you have to pick somewhere else. 

Well, since the moon is out....

Shooting an elopement at Burning Man has always resonated with my hippy soul but truly I just want any wedding that is incredibly unique and passionate. 

I want to wade barefoot out to a sandbar in Tofino where vows are exchanged surrounded by ocean as the tide closes in around us and I want to hike to some peak with a wedding dress in my backpack and shoot a ceremony as sunrise climbs over the horizon. 

What do you hope to achieve with your work. 

I’m always in constant competition with my self. If I feel like I’ve improved from where I was this time last year, I’m happy. 

What is the most inspiring experience you’ve ever had. 

In terms of photography, one of the best moments happened just at the beginning of this season. The brides parents had been together for 31 years, and her only wish on her wedding day was for them to finally be married as well. Right after the father daughter dance, they asked Mom to come up and join them, then the officiant as well, then he pulled out the rings and they had their ceremony right there on the dance floor. The Mom had NO idea and neither did the guests. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. I thought its was such a beautiful and selfless thing for the bride to share her day with her family like that.

Interview: Photographer Blake Ervin

So where did your interest in photography begin? What started it all?

My interest in photography began in my home state, I live in the land of the midnight sun or the last frontier as many know it up here. I was surrounded by over flowing natural beauty and my iPhone simply wasn't cutting it for sharing purpose. My mom bought me an intro level DSLR for Christmas 2013 and well, the rest is history. I didn't discover my love for portraits till much later surprisingly enough but exploring the human condition is a whole different question.  

How would you distinguish your style? 

Distinguishing your style is crucial to any and all photographers amateur or professional, I'm extremely over critical on the smallest details because I believe the smallest details of the photo are what contribute to the overall emotion conveyed in the photograph. I'd like to believe I stand out because I bring that quality to all of my photographs, they make you feel or they tell a story. I haven't found a consistent set of editing techniques I like quite yet so as I explore and grow in my style I feel like this answer may be subjective.  

What has had the greatest impact on you and your work?

Honestly, other photographers. I wouldn't be where I am today as a photographer if I hadn't had met and talked to such incredible people along my journey. Some photographers can be really closed off and unwilling to help others but I've been blessed to meet some insanely talented and compassionate people who've really helped me excel in not only my skills but also my drive to create better photos all around. I go out of my way to help anyone that asks for it because I know that I would not be the photographer I am today if I hadn't gotten the help and encouragement I did when I first began.  

How would you describe your journey and evolution in photography?

At times painstakingly slow, especially at the beginning and currently. We all want to see consistent growth but photography is an art and sometimes art lulls in creative spark. Learning new skills, practicing and consistent shooting has helped me fight against those lulls but we all plateau from time to time. I believe I have grown more so in the last year than all the previous ones because I really took the time to study techniques whether they be behind the lens or behind the screen that make a photograph stand out. I know I still have far to go and I hope getting out of my home state allows me to continue to grow and expand this art form I've fallen so desperately in love with.  

What was your life like before being introduced to photography?

It was life, it had its ups it's downs and everything in between. The question should be what was life like after I started pursuing photography professionally. There is a saying that goes "You see life through a lens" which often has negative connotations associated with it, I believe this couldn’t be farther from the truth when it comes to photography. I'm always looking at things in a way that can bring all of their natural beauty out. The perfect light, the perfect setting, the perfect situation it brings my life a sense of purpose in pursuing something that I deem to be beautiful. Not only is it beautiful in the lens but it was brought to life from the natural surroundings that already existed in that "just life" I mentioned earlier.  

What do you believe the photography world is lacking?

Mentorship, as I mentioned previously I wouldn't be where I am without the peers and teachers I surrounded myself with. The photography community tends to be very lone wolf-ish in the sense that they see anyone who isn't themselves as competition. I believe we as an entire community could grow exponentially if we would teach others rather than being so standoffish.  

How have you innovated and pushed yourself in the work you do?  

Like I said before, this last year I've really pushed myself to learn new techniques new skills both behind the lens and computer. I want to make this a career and to do so I have no choice but to stay on top of the best and the brightest. I was humbled last year when Chris Burkard visited a place not 10 minutes away from my home and took one of the best shots I've seen in my entire life. I had taken that shot a 100 times and it didn't hold a candle to the composition the editing or any other technical qualities of this photograph. It was in that moment that I realized I still had so far to grow in my photography career.  

What are you looking forward to doing and/or achieving?

Next year I hope to be studying at NYFA in LA California, I hope that moving to California opens up new opportunities to grow not only as a photographer but also a film maker and a person as well. I hope to have made my first short film by this time next year.  

Is there anything, anything under the sun, that we didn't ask about that you'd like to share? 

You guys pretty much covered it all, I have been in love with your feed and principle drive as a page for a while. I'm honored that you reached out to me and I can only hope I adequately answered your questions. Thank you for giving photographers a voice. 

We'd like to thank Blake for this awesome interview and his contribution towards this amazing photographic community! If you'd like to stay updated with him and his latest adventures you can follow him on Instagram or Facebook. Thank you!

Interview: Photographer Oliver De La Cruz

Portrait of Oliver by Kim Desmond

Portrait of Oliver by Kim Desmond

Where and how did your interest in photography begin and develop?

Oliver: I was 22 years old when I became interested in photography and I was dealing with anxiety at that time. I began to take pictures around my house with a smartphone and it became my escape from all the anxiety that was crumbling my world. I became so obsessed with taking pictures that it turned into a daily ritual. So, I decided to purchase a Fuji-Film bridge camera to start with.

I mostly photographed landscapes and still-life and never had much interest in portrait photography. Until a friend of mine that used to model in Denver reached out and asked to shoot with me. I had no idea what I was doing at the time but I took a chance and went with it. I shot with her for a whole year until other people started contacting me to shoot. So, one thing lead to another and I was hooked on portrait photography and slowly started moving up the ladder beginning with models then boutiques, organizations, apparel brands and finally being published.

 How would you distinguish your style?

Oliver: I would say my style revolves around urban/ street fashion with a hint of alternative edge. I was heavily influenced by brands like Ruckus Apparel and P&Co. I’ve also started using little gadgets like prisms and metallic spinners to add some creativity to my work. Along with creating my own presets that make my images authentic and unique to my brand.

What makes you feel at your most content, creative, and inspired?

Oliver: I find inspirations from YouTube photographers like Jessica Kobeissi and Jessica Whitaker. Every time I watch their videos I get so pumped and my imagination starts to run wild and I come up with a variety of ideas and shoot concepts. I also find inspiration from music and lyrics depending on what mood I’m in and how a certain song makes me feel. If I come across a verse that gets my attention I’ll use it create a concept and tell a story for my next shoot. 

How would you explain and describe your connection with photography?

Oliver: Ever since I became a photographer, it has become more then an obsession – but rather a lifestyle. It’s like breathing oxygen; you can’t live without it. Same concept applies to my connection with photography and I cannot imagine a world where there is not a camera in my hand. The world of photography allows me to escape and feed my imagination to create artwork that I can be proud of and call my own. 

What are you looking forward to doing and/or achieving?

Oliver: Ah, there’s so many things I want to do and achieve in life! But if I had to narrow it down I would say I wish to continue perfecting my craft as a photographer and get through grad school for the next two years. 

Anything you’ve learned or picked up from fellow photographers?

Oliver: I have learned a few tips and tricks from local photographers when it comes to posing models and learning how to orchestrate collaborations and having more effective communication with clients.  

When and how have you developed your approach to creating the work you do?

Oliver: Oh, that’s a tough one! I would say last year during the fall semester is when I finally had a break-through with my photography. I began to experiment with different shooting locations and creating my own presets. I felt stuck and I wasn’t progressing or creating work that was distinguishable or authentic. I poured all my efforts and energy into making my work unique. I spent so much time editing on my laptop that I eventually had to get glasses due to my vision wearing down. Eventually all the hard work paid off and now I can look at my photography and say with confidence that it is “Revilo DLC” material. 

What has your experience in the photography community been like so far?

Oliver: So far it has been spectacular! I have met some talented photographers and rad models that are very down to earth. The photography community is like a big family and everyone is learning and helping each other out to progress and create art. Being a part of this community has helped me develop my communication skills and overcome my fears and take life head on. 

Any memorable or particular experiences being a photographer has brought you?

Oliver: Dang, there are too many to mention! I would say my most memorable experience was when I got published this year in Mad Sounds Magazine based out of L.A. I was shocked to receive a response back from the editor with good news of my acceptance for the editorial submission. I was so happy that day and I blabbed about it to my friends and family. It was such an honor and even now I still have a hard time believing it actually happened!

Is there anything, anything under the sun, we didn’t ask about that you’d like to share?

Oliver: Other than photography being a huge part of my life, I am a devoted Christ follower and obsessed with anime!

We'd like to thank Oliver for this inspiring interview, and to the photographic community!

Interview: Photographer Nate Zoeller

Fueled by those around him and his own will to make things happen, Nate Zoeller has been sharing his incredible work with the world and now has shared his words with us and now to you in this interview we got to do with him!

Portrait of Nate Zoeller by Amanda Jensen

How did you get into photography and decide to stick with it?

NZ: My uncle was big into photography and gave me my first DSLR for my 15th birthday. It collected dust for a few years until I started going to a lot of hardcore punk shows, and decided to see what it’d be like to try and capture the moments that I thought were so cool. Once I got the hang of it, I was hooked. 

How would you distinguish your style?

NZ: I would describe my style, for the most part, as warm and reminiscent - sort of a romanticized take on reality.

Where do your ambitions and aspirations lie with your work?

NZ: My main ambition is to create something that I like and to evoke some kind of thought or emotion in the viewer. I’ve got a lot of thoughts and I’m better at expressing them through pictures rather than words. As far as aspirations, I would love more than anything to use photography as a means to travel. I want to photograph new faces in new places and experience different cultures and ways of life.

What has been one of the most defining moments in your life?

NZ: Last summer, I got fed up and quit my job with nothing to really fall back on. My uncle called me that night and said “well, I guess you’ve got no reason not to come visit me,” so I got a few hours of sleep and hit the road early the next morning. All said and done, I drove 3,500 miles round trip on a whim. I gathered more inspiration in 56 hours of driving alone through new places and I haven’t lost it since. A road trip might not seem like much of a big deal to most, but I think about the sunrise I saw over the mountains in New Mexico almost every day.

How do you get yourself out of a rut?

NZ: I have two methods for getting myself out of a rut; the first being sitting around and daydreaming until something comes to me. The other, more effective way is to force myself to get out there and spitball ideas and collaborate with people. The vision is always there, sometimes you just need a second set of eyes around to help you see it, you know?

What has had the greatest influence on you and your work?

NZ: My friends, always. I know so many good, creative people and I draw inspiration from their work or personalities or our experiences together very often. I guess you could say that I’m heavily influenced by my surroundings at times.

What do YOU see and feel when you look back on your work?

NZ: I see growth, both as an artist and as a person. Whether it’s looking back at an old edit or remembering what I did the day that I took a photo, it’s cool to look back and see that progression.

What is something you've heard or learned that resonates with you?

NZ: My good friend Parm Masuta always says “Get out there!” I tend to get very set in my ways for any amount of time and when I need to break out of that and go do or create something, I always hear his voice in my head.

We would like to personally thank Nate for this great and insightful interview, and to his creative eye that keeps the community fully charged, we could not do this without you! If you would like to stay updated with Nate you can follow him on on Instagram below!