All photos by Rachel Summer unless otherwise noted.
Rachel Summer is a gem.
Much more than just one of our Together Again judges and a Southern California-based creative who is multi-skilled in all things production. Although, she’s all those things too.
It shouldn’t be surprising to learn she’s a phenomenal photographer, as well. As in good, really good. But she doesn’t carry herself as a person that knows how good they are.
A quick intro: her creative journey started with a BA in Visual Arts Media with an emphasis in Photography from the University of California, San Diego. Post-graduation, Rachel started her own freelance career specialising in wardrobe styling, prop styling, event producing, commercial producing, and portrait photography. Ultimately, she wants to use art as a way to uplift women and create a community of diverse people coming together for a common goal.
We asked her a few questions about her photography, her influences, and everything else in between. Consider it the email back-and-forth equivalent of a 60 Minutes Leslie Stahl interview.
WT: How did you first get involved with photography?
RS: I bought myself a Nikon D3000 kit from Costco for my high school graduation. During that summer, my family and I went to Greece, where I could walk the city and discovered my love for photography. In the years that followed, photography became a way for me to document the way I saw the world – at a time when I was a confused young adult trying to understand the world.
What’s the biggest thing people don’t know about your line of work?
Most people glamorize this line of work, noting that it is pretty glamorous to work on location with a new group of people every time. The long hours of physical and mental labor are tiring and not to everyone’s taste. It doesn’t matter if it is day one hour one or day four hour 10. You need to be on your A-game.
What equipment are you normally rolling with on your day-to-day?
Currently, I’m using three cameras: a Canon 5D, a Pentax K1000, and a Canon point-and-shoot.
When taking photos, are you more about equipment or getting the moment right?
The initial focus was on capturing the moment and working quickly. But lately, I’ve enjoyed taking portraits at a slower pace and focusing more on technical details.
Halftime break! Let’s meet this week’s shortlisters.
Ganimat grew up in the North of Russia, in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. From childhood, he fell in love with the unique beauty of the region. He manages to capture its specific aesthetics and show the life of both its northern cities and its indigenous nomadic people. He shoots scenery he knows. Endless forests, mountains, snowy cities and flatlands. “My purpose is to show and introduce the life of our region,” Ganimat comments. “So everyone can know the north and of its native people – the Nenets.”
Sam is from North Carolina, in the United States, but grew up bouncing around the American South. As of now he’s living in Oxford, UK. He spent most of his time as a kid, Just surfing and being a derelict hence,” he tells us. “That’s why I became a photographer.” Previously he was working at Stab Magazine however he’s recently left and gone his own way as a freelancer.
What’s the one shot that “got away”?
My latest trip to New York was full of missed shots. Every corner has a story to tell, and I was not able to catch them all.
If you weren’t doing this (photography), what would you be doing instead?
Recently, I’ve been considering returning to school to become an action sports psychologist. There is a real need for specialized help, and since I work in the action sports industry, I feel like I could contribute immensely.
In judging for the contest what are you, specifically, looking for?
I am such a feeling person. It is important to me that a picture tells a story. It doesn’t matter if it’s a color story, travel story, portrait story, etc.
You can still sign up for VERO, and enter the contest now.
We’ve extended our last round of submissions until the 3rd of November. So if you didn’t get selected now, don’t worry. There’s still one more chance! There’s, a $1000 grand prize and magazine feature in your feature as well. Until then, follow us on VERO for more Together Again updates and to submit your entries.
Here’s a quick run-through of our shortlisters from the past couple of weeks! Good luck to everyone next week. We’ll see you then.