We had the good fortune of connecting with Gizelle Peters and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Gizelle, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
A legacy of freedom and self-expression.

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.

My personal work has generally been nature. Actually, it always has been. From landscapes, to abstracted textures in nature, to “nature portraits,” to still-lifes of dried up flowers and natural sunlight. I am nowhere near where I would like to be as a career artist but I think the fact that I shoot on a regular basis and take the next right actions towards that goal, in the midst of just living life on life’s terms is huge and something I need to celebrate more! Come to think of it, I think celebrating myself more might be my biggest challenge in my artist work. Eek! What sets me apart as an artist whose main medium is image based? I’d say what sets me apart or I’d say, what gives my work the UMPH is my commitment to the practice and medium of photography. Knowing its history, doing a simple contact sheet, doing most of the work in camera, printing the photographs myself, getting them up on a wall for an edit and etc… Fundamentals and foundations. It’s that y’all! Not the camera!

Behind the scenes/professionally, I am part-time everything (from admin work to assisting/producing) and part-time freelance photographer. My freelance photography business has been a journey! I’ve been doing it for over 10+ years now and how it all began was me photographing friends’ parties in college. Then I found myself in NYC asking party promoters if they needed a photographer. It then grew and expanded to events and lifestyle work. What I have always known and what people have come to hire me for in my freelance photography business is my ability to capture authentic and candid moments. In terms of challenges in this area of my life, it has always been about the value of my work and time. It was good and beneficial for me in the beginning to be humble and charge at lower rates based on my experience, but as my eye and experience grew, it was a challenge to get long-term clients to see that what they had been paying me was no longer sustainable. A lot of those relationships I had to let go of, in order to make room for ones that really wanted all I had to offer and folks who appreciated me. It’s still a struggle sometimes. My advice to fellow photographers struggling with this and to myself everyday is that, if they don’t want to pay your rate, walk away. If I could go back in time, I would not turn those gut No’s (I’m being underpaid and undervalued) into yes’ (let me just continue to rack up these experiences!

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?
Well let me just say I’m new to LA since September (after 10 years in NYC and 6 months in Hawaii) so still getting to know the city a bit. I’m out in Silverlake though and things I’ve come to enjoy so far….

For food/coffee snacks – Kombu Sushi (SO YUM!), Playita Mariscos (for fish tacos), Maury’s (for a just like home in NYC bagel) and Millie’s (for diner food with vegan options)! Take a drive out of the neighborhood to eat at my friend’s new restaurant on Fairfax, Yojimbo!

For chillin’ – Walk the Reservoir, do some hikes at Griffith Park or layout at Elysian Park.

For PM vibes – I don’t drink and with covid I haven’t been out dancing in a minute! Though I will say, go to 143 Worldwide party if you’re an R&B enthusiast like me. Loved this party when they would come out to NYC and checking it out in it’s hometown of LA is on my list of things to do!

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?
Oh wow! Yes! So many folks!

Now family/basically one of my big sisters, Jamie. I’ll never forget the day I showed her a few of my photographs and she told me I had an eye for it.I looked up to her so much for her own artistry and from that moment I never stopped photographing.

Shout out to my high school art teacher Gabriel Mejia for being so cool and so supportive through the years. To Gallery 37 in my hometown Chicago, which gave this public school kid the opportunity to really dive into the medium of photography. And wow…just to all the creative folks and friends I had the privilege to be surrounded by – Neha Mehra, Alan Zhang, Darryl Westly, Zoe Mendelson, Alex Larson-Walker, Nick Hennessey of the O’My’s, Moira Quinn — just to name a few! Y’all are so inspiring to me now, just as much as you were then.

To my teachers and mentors from SVA – Algis Balsy, Marcia Lippman, Tom Ashe and Allen Frame for taking my artistry to the next level.

Big shout out to my forever mentor and friend Joe Sinnott who taught me (and still teaches me) how to be a photographer who takes pictures for money.

To my partner and best friends. To my spiritual and chosen fam – you all know who you are!!! I would not be doing this interview right now if it wasn’t for all your love and support these past 3 years.

Website: www.gizellepeters.com

Instagram: @gizellepeters + @gizellepeters_photo

Image Credits
Photo of me by Tam Young

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