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spirit-light in her subjects. Other influences were fine art photographers, Sarah Moon and Julia Margaret Cameron. The interesting thing is my style is different from all three women in every possible way, yet each profoundly influenced my thinking because of their empathy and care for their subjects and their love of light. William: Who were your mentors? Stephanie: Ah, that would be architectural photographer, Brad Feinknopf. He was instrumental at the start of my career and has always been gracious with his advice and wise counsel. He’s an amazing human being and photographer. William: How would you describe yourself as a person and artist? Stephanie: As a person and artist I’d describe myself as an ever-evolving spirit in the middle of a transformation in preparation for the next level. William: Why do you take photos? What inspires you? Stephanie: Ok, this might be surprising but while I love being a photographer, I really love production. For me shooting the picture is the icing on the cake, the fun part. What I enjoy most is the planning, the team building, scheduling, calls with the stylist, hair and makeup inspirations, mood boards, etc. I’ve never been the photographer who walks around with their camera documenting the world, although I do seek out light. I search for it all the time, the way shadows fall between buildings, on people, through the trees. The truth is I feel blessed to have an eye. I shoot for clients, and I shoot because it’s my work. And yes, from time to time I shoot because I’m inspired. Speaking of inspiration, what gets me going? Bold colors, big, amazing hair, flawless makeup, sheer fabrics, stunning light set-ups, wind, and movement. William: With what camera do you usually work? Stephanie: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 70D, Canon 24105L, Canon 24-70 f/2.8. William: What is the power of photography? Stephanie: A photograph is a split second of time

snatched from eternity. When you think of it, it’s the most amazing thing. A moment, frozen. The beauty is within an image lays the power of our humanity, our frailty, uniqueness. and creativity. William: On an emotional level, what can a photograph make you feel? Stephanie: Photographs run the gamut of emotions from exquisite pain and sorrow, to elation and joy. I’d like to share a few names of photographers whose work has been etched in my memory -- Sebastiao Salgado, James Nachtwey, and Kevin Carter. For a juxtaposition, look up Nick Brandt. You won’t be disappointed. William: Do you agree you are challenged every day to create something that has never been created before? Stephanie: No, I don’t agree with that. Some days are made for sitting, for reflection, and for meditation. No one can create all the time. I believe an artists’ growth comes during the quiet moments. William: What do you want to say with your photographs, and how do you get your photographs to do that? Stephanie: To answer this question, I’ll speak to my dance images. I wanted my dance photos to tell the truth of a thing, so during the sessions I’d encourage the dancer to meditate on a color, or a specific word, or a piece of music and use her body to express it. I was more interested in capturing a feeling than in the perfection of a move. In fact, some of my most favorite images were moments of transition into a big burst. Don’t get me wrong, I love the big burst too. William: How do you choose what you are going to shoot? Stephanie: I’ve been fortunate to work with clients who trust my vision and let me shoot what I see and feel instead of directing me. So, how do I choose what I’m going to shoot – I literally let the vibe on-set guide me. That’s not to say I leave things to chance. It’s quite the opposite. I cultivate a set-climate that allows me, and everyone on the team to feel safe – so they can express and create. That means the right temperature, the right lighting, the right music, and of course prayer to start things off. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2018

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September / October 2018 InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential