We had the good fortune of connecting with Josefina H. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Josefina, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I think the most important factor behind my success and success as a brand, is authenticity. I am a caring and curious individual, by nature, so it’s important to me that I learn a piece of someone’s story while we shoot; so that I may capture who they are, authentically. Most of my work – headshots to portraits – are designed to tell a story about that person. Even within my fashion shoots, where the images are much more about the clothes, then about the person, I try to capture the person with the clothes, this time capturing the character they create to go along with the wardrobe. If the clothes are meant to portray someone powerful, the model and I may create looks that are fierce and expressions that imply they are powerful and in control. I think that level conscious creating, and the detail to stories, sets me apart from other photographers. I was inspired to tell stories after I was told, a long time ago, that I wasn’t allowed to share mine. I think it’s important to understand that [any] trauma, along with the good in life, is what makes up a human being. Hiding away pieces of us, creates a false-shelter, and doesn’t allow us to live as authentically, as we could. Therefore, when it comes to my art, I make it a point to try to capture a person, as a whole. Photographs are more than pretty people and calculated poses, they are memories and works of art, capturing a specific moment in time.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am really proud of myself for not giving up, and continuing to find way to connect with new people. Many years ago, when I was starting out with model/people photography, I was told that I was not going to succeed, by someone who worked in the film industry. They strongly believed that a “hobby” was not going to get me anywhere and that I was “too shy” to be able to network at the level required to be a “successful” photographer, in their eyes. The fact is though, that photography has made me break free of the “too shy” label. Yes, I still get jitters when I have to send “cold-call” emails, or when I’m trying to network with someone who is considered famous, but I do that with much more ease now, than I did then. In 2012, right when I was starting to work with people, I decided that I was going to move to Los Angeles, to start over. I moved with just a suitcase, my camera bag, and a laptop. The six months that I spent there, were really freeing. I attended a workshop on fashion photography, and worked with a few models that I had met, during that workshop, thereafter. I soon began networking with creators that I met on Hollywood Blvd. or at networking “parties”. When I was called home, due to a parent’s ailing health, I had an entire network with creatives in Los Angeles, and a hard-drive full of images with stories to be told. Overall, I think the biggest take away from my decade-long career has been my perseverance to get through all the hurdles that have been thrown my way. From 2012-2016, I was in and out of an abusive relationship that nearly ended my life. But despite the trauma that came from that, I never gave up wanting to create. It was a necessity, in a lot of ways, to keep me sane. But it also taught me that if you put one foot in front of the other, and take one moment at a time, that eventually you will get in the direction you want to go. Worrying about the “bigger picture” or the “what-if’s” aren’t going to get you where you want to be, sure you should take a moment and feel what you feel, but don’t dwell. Just figure out the next step for you and then work out a plan to get there. For me, it was always wanting to create with someone new, someone who had a lot of stories to tell, and that meant finding out contact information, setting up phone-calls, or writing “cold-call” emails, and hoping that the person would respond; often waiting days or weeks to get a response too. The worst someone can say is “no,” and no’s are often disappointing, but it’s even more disappointing, if you don’t, at the very least, try. I have been super lucky with Twitter being a tool used to connect with others that I may not normally have connected with. In 2018, I got to work with Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, following the Nassar’s case, because Twitter opened up an avenue for connecting. A few years prior to that, I got to work with Nina Hartley by connecting through the same resource, And this past year, I got to work with podcast and content creator, August McLaughlin, after years of following one another via Twitter, as well. Social networking has really changed the game in how people connect and communicate. In many ways, it’s made art easier to create.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
It’s been awhile since I’ve been to LA, but one of the places I would recommend staying at would be the Omni Los Angeles Hotel. It’s a beautiful hotel with big rooms and good window light, but my favorite thing is their restaurant, which features a jazz bar with delicious food and live jazz music, nightly. (While I was there, I took my computer down to the jazz bar and listened to the music while I edited photos from that shoot.) Across the street from the hotel is an art museum, which is always good for those who love to see art across the world. I would visit Los Feliz, which hosts a good number of shops and cafes, and is close to Griffith Park, which is another go-see destination for hiking. The observatory, which is located at the top of Griffith Park, is also a place to see, especially at night, as you can look out over the entire city of Los Angeles, and watch the planes take off and land at LAX, in the distance. Then, of course, there are the touristy places to visit, along Hollywood Blvd., from the Thai restaurant down by the end where the studios are located, and up to the center of Hollywood Blvd, where the Hard Rock cafe, and Madame Tussauds’ Wax Museum are.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Years ago, when I first became interested in photography, I reached out to photographer, Jaime Ibarra. He was creating in a similar manner as to how I wanted to create – with photos that told stories. I asked for retouching lessons from him, as I wanted to learn some of the post-production flow that made his work stand out from the rest. Today, while I don’t use everything I was taught in those lessons, I still do pay quite a bit of attention to color detail, and how colors – or even monochrome looks – can help bring an image to life. Most of the work I produce, is enhanced to create a vibrant color story, to accompany the story that I’m trying to tell in the image. That wouldn’t have been possible had I not come across Jaime Ibarra’s work. So shoutout to him, and to the DeviantArt platform/community, which without, I would not have been able to connect with so many other great photographers and writers, over the years – many of whom are Facebook friends, or people I have ended up collaborating with!
Other: http://josefinaphotography.tumblr.com/ https://youpic.com/photographer/JosefinaPhoto/