We had the good fortune of connecting with Christopher Pedraza and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christopher, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I’d be lying if I said risk wasn’t terrifying and that it immediately triggers my anxiety. But…risk is an opportunity – an opportunity to try something new, to overcome odds, to create something you never could have before. Taking risks has been critical in my life and career as an artist, from the very beginning of deciding to become a full-time photographer. When it comes to being an analog photographer every shot is an exhilarating risk of not even knowing if the photo turned out until you pull it out of the developing tank. Being an artist has actually helped me to think of risk differently by accepting it as a fact of life and learning to see the unknown as a sort of freedom.
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 an analog photographer. I specialize in film photography – shooting, processing, developing, printing, scanning, blah blah, more specifically I’m most known for bright, colorful portraits, lifestyle, and conceptual photography.
What am I most most excited for?…I feel like that changes almost everyday…right now I am most proud of and excited for a project with Parallels, an incredible synth wave artist. Holly asked me to shoot the album artwork for her latest record and we created some insanely beautiful photos and super 8 footage. I literally can not wait to see the finished product when the vinyl pressings are released.
Oh man, how did I get here…just by not quitting. Maybe it’s belligerence or not knowing when to quit but I just started and never stopped. And that honestly, is the hardest part. It’s so easy to get discouraged or get bored and move on, but I found photography and it grabbed ahold of me and never let go.
For me, it’s the connections built during the creative process before the photo is even printed. Photographing people, for both model and photographer, leaves you vulnerable and open. It’s exciting and terrifying and the most rewarding form of photography. I really want that be the focus of my artistic journey – meeting and connecting with new people. I truly believe film captures that emotion better than most other mediums because you create a physical image of a single moment captured in time.
By developing and processing and being in total control of the finished product, film allows me to give my photos that handmade feel. I actually created a corny little slogan for myself that’s featured on my portfolio – “Handmade, Homestyle, Photography.” Like a home cooked meal or a handmade gift from your best friend. It’s kinda silly but I believe in it and I think my photographs feel that way.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love having the opportunity to show people my favorite spots around LA. The beautiful thing about LA is that there is so much diversity in what you can do and where you can go. I don’t know if realistically we could go to all these places in only a week, buuuuttttttttt here it goes… Let’s say they arrive on a Friday evening, first we’re grabbing dinner at El Coyote – the best burrito in the whole city, I will fight anyone who says otherwise. We’re gonna need the sustenance because then we’re screaming all night long to our favorite songs at Emo Nite at the Echoplex. After a couple overpriced PBR’s we’re gonna need an Uber to Astroburger to close out the night.
Next morning we’re nursing our hangovers at Breakfast by Salt’s Cure and then rippin’ out to a secluded beach up in Malibu, maybe if we’re feeling naughty we stop to snack on some art at the Getty. Honestly, then we’re absolutely closing out that night at Jumbo’s Clown Room with a pregame at Harvard and Stone.
Lmao alright this is really difficult! Umm throughout the week we gotta hit up downtown and the Art’s District to grab some coffee at Stumptown and a quick bite at Wurstkuche with a refreshing hard kombucha at Flying Embers. Then honestly we gotta hit up the South Bay. I love the Beach and Pedro. It’s a real community of people so nice and punk, and there is no better place to experience this than at Vine on 4th to catch a bill of local punk bands and a can of Montucky. Not to mention, Brouwerij West for my actual favorite hard seltzer and local food trucks for some grub.
Back up in LA we’re hitting up Hollywood Forever and Griffith Park for some outdoor activities. Eventually, we’re hitting up Gold Line in Highland Park and down to a show at Zebulon. Maybe a mid-week, fancy, plant-based meal at Crossroads on Melrose and a night at Gold Diggers.
Okay, wow…uhh yeah I could go on forever but me and my best friend would end up destitute.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Damn, I mean like everyone…I’m so lucky to be surrounded by the most supportive people – from my family to all my friends to the people I’ve never met who’ve said a kind word about me and my art. My folks have been supportive of me ever since I was ruining their lives drumming in the basement of my childhood home. My pal John for encouraging me to buy a crusty little dusty film camera years ago. My roommates and bandmates, Colin and Lindsey for always being there with moral support and beer when it all feels useless. All the boys in DYNMC, Brad, Adam, Victor, and Gunther, for giving me my first professional gigs and being the best of pals. Nothing but love for everyone in my life, y’all know.
Instagram: @pedrazaphotographs / @qristafur