We had the good fortune of connecting with Bart Mastronardi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bart, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
The most important lesson I have been learning is keeping up with the time while being productive for tomorrow. It is always a constant understanding what is relevant today may not be tomorrow. I have to be aware of the new ways to market my photography business, understand equipment that comes out to further my business, be involved with branding, and associating myself with other artists. Photography has grown so much in the past few years due to how cameras have become such an intricate part of the world. I have to work on my skills as an artist to keep pushing myself out there while learning new concepts, ideas, and skills for my photography.
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 a visual storyteller using photography and filmmaking to tell the stories. I am a filmmaker also, which gives to the narrative use in my photography. Much of my work is Portrait and Fine Art photography where I get to create stories using photography. At times I have clients who come to me to photograph them for fine art style portraits. What excites me most is the process of the session with the models and clients. The discussions we have to light up the ideas for the session. I am most happy when the clients are smiling while looking at the captures we created. I will admit there is nothing like working with the lab, Film Solutions in Burbank, and going over the paper to print the photograph on. When the print is ready and framed it is magical in every way imaginable. If time permits I’ll hang the frame up in the clients home for display. I am most happy when I am working on my photography or even helping students to understand their own process. I was able to get where I am by taking huge risks because I felt like I had no choice. I had to do what I felt was in my gut. The older I have become the more I realize how important it was to step off the cliff into the flowing river knowing I had to swim for my life. On the way I have been fortunate to have a core group who supports and encourages me. It wasn’t always that way when you start out. Many mistakes were made. I needed them so I could grow into who I am now. I do not spend a lot of time worrying anymore. I just do now. I do the work. I am a conduit for the creative energy to flow. When I am open to the process it flows more easily. It’s tough at times as it is a business, too. However, that’s the joy in it at times. What I would ask the world to understand about me is it is important we share our talent to help give more to the world. I get to live my art every day. It’s a relationship within me that I cherish as I can share it with many people from all over the world thanks to social media. One lesson I learn each day when I am working is to keep investing in yourself. It’s your talent to work with so make it worth the time.
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?
I love California. I am still a tourist and now a resident. So here are two scenarios. I was fortunate enough to be the promotional photographer to the show Women Behind Bars starring Traci Lords and Mink Stole. Excellent fun theatrical event. I was happy to take my friends to see the show at the Montalban Theater in Hollywood. Live theater is always a great event to be a part of. I miss it now due to the Covid-19 virus shutting down so much for now. Another way I enjoy showing people around is driving friends out to Joshua Tree park for hiking, camping, and watching the stars. We packed food, sleeping bags, and drinks (tequila). The next day we get up and drive to Palm Springs to enjoy the community there for a few days. Another great way to enjoy California. So for me the city life and the rural life are my favorite ways to spend when people come over. Each is different so I do my best to show people something different each time.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My mother and my father. Chris Roe, Michael Stokes, Sue Bryce, Alan Rowe Kelly, Those who help give light in darkness. Kimberly Wrann, Herb Ritts. Nathan Wrann, Christopher Roe JR, Raven Adams, RhondaLee Quaresma. David Vance. Marcus Mok, Angels In America. James Baldwin. Paul Freeman, Larry Kramer, Paolo Coelho. Amy Lynn Best. Mike Watt. Every single student who I have had the honor of teaching. Michelangelo. Charles Chudabala. Amy Lynn-Best. Mike Watt. Shakespeare. Nicole “Soul” Creary. Beth Wernick. Patrick Cronen. Billy Clift. Paul Antonelli. Mark Bego. Homer. Dante. Terrence McNally. My family. immigrants who leave their homeland to live in other places. Ovid. My Goddaughter, Jordan. Alexis-Kane. Clive Barker. People who stand up for the greater good of humanity. Keith Haring. Michael Varrati. NYC. Los Angeles. Italy. JV13. Walt Whitman. Chase Jarvis. Fine Arts. A camera to load film into. Stonewall Riots. Helen Keller. Timothy Leach. LGBTQIA+. Brandon Schlaegel. Michael Knowles. All Artists who strive to not only create but that their work can change and help our world. Platon. Tennessee Williams. Adrienne King. Rosa Park. Teachers who inspire, encourage, and guide their students to success. Eileen Dietz. Advocates who stand up and help fight for those who have no voice or can’t use it. Traci Lords. Mythology. Those who ask me to photograph them with trust. Shanna Lynn Milazzo. Chris Olsefky. A Streetcar Named Desire. The Alchemist. The Renaissance. I also give a shoutout to all of those who take their dreams and work hard to turn them into reality. Fear. Love.
Instagram: Bart Mastronardi Photography
Twitter: Bart Mastronardi1
Facebook: Bart Mastronardi
Youtube: Coming Soon.
Brandon Schlaegel (Warrior); Traci Lords (b/w Women Behind Bars); Eureka O’Hara (Matron in Women Behind Bars); RhondaLee (portrait of a survivor); Charles Chudabala (Hollywood Blvd); Michael Knowles (GQ Pink); Model in the Rain; Michael Knowles (b/w desert jump). Bart Mastronardi Photography