Steffanie Padilla

Los Angeles, CA, USA

Who are you?

An artist working in photography whose practice includes advertisements, video, and text. I received a BFA in Photography from California State University of Long Beach and I am currently a prospective MFA Photography applicant.

What do you want?

I want others to be more empathetic and be more aware of how digital information constructs our world views.

Why photography?

Photography was not something I decided to do as an artistic career choice. At a young age, my initial interest in photography stemmed from a fascination with how cameras worked. As I got older, my interest in photography grew to be more than just a minor hobby or interest. Now I find photography to be a fascinating point of discussion that extends beyond simple picture taking. I began to understand the power of influence and meaning behind images, and I naturally became more and more aware when taking photos and thinking about them from a more conceptual perspective. Photography has now become, to put it in familiar terms, sort of a sixth sense. Through photography, I can critically assess the world from a new perspective and, just as importantly, fully express my curiosity, imagination, and ideas.

What gear do you use?

I started with a point-and-shoot camera, the Canon Powershot SD400 and shortly after moved to a DSRL, the Canon 40D, which I used for several years. During my undergrad, I experimented with an 8x10 and Holga camera, but mostly shot with the Canon Mark III. Post graduation I wanted to work more with film and invested in the Hasselblad H2 and Canon AE-1.

Any interests, hobbies, or passions outside of photography?

Watching documentaries, guided meditation, hiking, gardening, cooking, creating, outreach activism, graphic design, and traveling are some of my hobbies.

Music, movies, books, TV, games. What are some of your favorites? Any recommendations?

Music has always been a big part of my life. Some favorites would be: M.I.A., Interpol, Rage Against the Machine, Fugees, and Maná. Currently I’ve been really into The Blaze.

Book Recommendations: “Understanding Media Theory” by Arjen Mulder, “Animal Liberation” by Peter Singer, and “Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows” by Melanie Joy.

Movies and Documentary Recommendations: Little Miss Sunshine, The True Cost, Cowspiracy, 13th, Miss Representation, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, and Earthlings.

Also, if I can plug some podcasts I think are worth listening to:

Knowing Animals with political theorist Siobhan O’Sullivan who features animal studies scholars

Inquiring Minds with neuroscientist Indre Viskontas and science educator Kishore Hari

Food for Thought with bestselling author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Who or what is inspiring you?

What keeps me inspired and motivated every single day are my hardworking parents and incredible partner who is a Physicist at Princeton University. Also, facing my fears and coming out alive, participating in photo critiques, immersing myself in good art shows, and simply going through life are some other contributing factors to my inspiration.

What's one thing about yourself that would surprise most people?

I suppose not a lot of people know this about me, but that I can play expert mode on the arcade game Dance Dance Revolution, and have been vegan now for over five years.

What's your most prized possession?

My cameras, physical and mental health, and my imagination.

What's your funniest or most embarrassing story?

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Got any words of wisdom or a favorite quote?

“If we do not document our stories, if we do not own our narratives, we give others the power to describe and label us anyway they desire.” - unknown

Any other photographers you think people should check out?

I was lucky enough to witness a Wolfgang Tillmans solo exhibition in Basel, Switzerland last year that left me in awe.

Stephen Shore, Alex Webb, Paul D’Amato, Sara Hylton, and Jo-Anne McArthur.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for having me!

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Steffanie Padilla