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Life & Work with Magdalena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Magdalena.

Hi Magdalena, we’d love to hear how did you got started in photography?
I have always been interested in photography… even in elementary school, all I remember wanting was to ask Santa for a Polaroid camera. In high school, I was introduced to the darkroom, and that’s when an interest became a full-blown obsession. While in high school, I started sneaking my camera into concerts, and by the time I was a junior, I knew I wanted to pursue photography professionally.

I applied to Drexel University’s elite photography program and when I was awarded a full-tuition scholarship, I realized that there was a chance I could actually support myself as an artist. After college, I packed everything I owned into my car and drove across the country to Los Angeles.

I had no job or apartment but I was able to convince high-profile celebrity and fashion photographer Odessy Barbu to take me on as an apprentice and assistant. I learned a tremendous amount there and started my own company here in the DMV a few years later.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
No. I eat what I kill- meaning if I am not constantly hunting for work I literally don’t eat. There were some months I was fully booked and others where I sat there questioning if I made the right decision to follow my dreams.

Moving across the country alone was terrifying but I made it happen. Convincing major brands like L’oreal and Playtex to take me seriously without an agent representing me seemed unattainable but I made it happen. It hasn’t been easy but it has definitely been worth it.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a commercial photographer and producer specializing in clean, authentic commercial photography. I am known for my unique perspective, feminine eye, and use of natural light, my color palettes mirror the subject to its surroundings, my locations are visually stunning, and my images spark desire. I am unlike other photographers because my clients trust me to select locations, models, and wardrobes and to produce the shoot in its entirety.

I am most proud of the work I have done in Europe specifically Greece where I have shot 3 campaigns for various brands producing the shoot entirely on my own. The campaigns for Kopu water specifically were partially shot underwater which was challenging but extremely rewarding.

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
The market is really saturated currently- cameras and retouching programs are so much more accessible than they were 15 years ago. I see a lot of people teaching themselves versus going to college. I think that will continue to become the most popular choice in pursuing photography.

Personally, when I have control over casting models I like to be as diverse as possible. I see a lot of brands are becoming more aware of what this country actually looks like. I hope to see even more inclusivity… especially in high fashion.

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