We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeremy Pangilinan @akafotoboy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeremy Pangilinan, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk. It is something I look at as a challenge we all have to do as artists. It could be as simple as leaving our hometowns and risking the comforts of being around loved ones. Or chasing our dreams and putting our hearts and souls, in what we create and letting it out into the universe to be judged. It is very scary and risky. But we need to do it. We can call it whatever. But really, we need it for growth. As artists, as business people, as humans, growth comes from taking our calculated risks. I’ve always been the person that is very willing to risk everything for the dreams and ideals that live within me. My brain just works that way. I’ve done it with everything in my world. I obviously do it for my art, but I also do it for my personal life as well. I don’t think much about it when I’m doing it. I just know that when it comes to making a hard decision between what aches in my soul vs the space of doubt and uncertainty, my soul will always have its aches quelled. My life has been blessed with opportunities to take risks that would allow me to grow and propel myself forward. And as much as I would like to say those places for me to take chances came out of nowhere, the reality is that I had to take a risk and put myself out there, for those opportunities to come to me. Leaving my personal space of comfort, is always a place I knew where growth would come from. My background in athletics allowed me to learn simple lessons like that. I knew that my discomfort was a place of growth. And when I took risks professionally, I knew that place of discomfort was going to lead to my growth. Either it be professionally or artistically, the chances I took, then put faith in my talents and skills, allowed me to stretch my creative wings and find new places for me to learn. And if I was prepared enough, it would illustrate to clients and other people paying attention to me, that I had what they were looking for. Taking risks is very important. You’ll notice every single time that you don’t take them. And then, you will also notice, that you will have amazing stories to tell people when you do. So take them. As a side note, some of my favorite stories are always about me taking risks and having faith in who I am and my ability to get through them.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I like to think, first and foremost, I am an artist. My brain tries to run amok with every single creative idea it comes up with. And they do run the gamut of trying to design shoes, write stories, draw comic book heroes, and to pay my bills, take very pretty pictures for clients. My work takes many forms. I love working in the entertainment/commercial/fashion field. Each of them offers me an incredible amount of creative possibilities and a pure distinct moment that I can create a honest and authentic moment within my imagery. And truthfully, that is one of the things I’m most grateful and proud of. For a living, I get to create these very genuine moments with my portraits/imagery. I’m proud that people have put their faith in my ability to create images/videos for them. I’ll always be grateful and thankful for that. Honestly, my path isn’t easy. But I’ll tell you what it is. It is a life filled with endless amounts of joy and experiences that I would have never had if I wasn’t an image maker. And if I was to tell someone how? I would tell them to shoot all the time. Walk out the door. Passionately shoot the things that catch your eye. And then shoot again. And again. And again even more. Now, the trick question is how to get paid for it. How to get paid for the thing you love so passionately. My answer? Do it for free. And then do it for free again. And again. And again even more. Then, when you have a collection of imagery that you are proud of, something that shows your vision, your technical prowess, and your ability to work as a professional, share them with the world, your loved ones, and potential clients. After that, repeat over and over. Eventually, you’ll notice that you will have a body of work that you are proud of and people are willing to pay for.
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 adore this question. By nature, I just want to share my world with people( imagine that, a photographer who would want to share the things they come across ). Let’s start off with this is under the idea we are not in Covid times and everything was open. Let’s set this up, a friend of mine is coming into town for a modeling job and will then spend a week afterwards to hang out w/me.
Mon: I’m a huge fan of Acai Bowls and the best one in town is at Hilltop in Inglewood. Always a great way to start the morning and they have wonderful Baristas who make an excellent Americano. And if Acai Bowls are not your thing, they have other fantastic things on the menu. I would then proceed to take a Vegan Chocolate Chip cookie to go. As we all know that Mondays are Museum days off, except one of my favorite Museums is the Norton Simon in Pasadena and they are open on Mondays. They have an amazing Religious collection( which I love ) and they also have beautiful Rodins if you want to spend some time in the courtyard. I’m sure we will be starving by the end of looking at all this amazing art, so for dinner we would head back to LA and stop off at Gus’ Hot Chicken. I love me some fried chicken and Gus’ is amazing Nashville flavored hot chicken! After a wonderfully filled belly, off to hit up the Dirty Laundry in Hollywood to catch Super Soul Monday with Jason Joseph. Jason has an amazing band and a very energized and soulful voice. He has this rotating guest list of people who come and sing/play a set with him and I have been introduced to some fantastic people; Daniel Bedingfield, Jojo, and Kina Grannis.
Tues: Morning-ish time we head out to the Culver stairs. If you guys have not been, they are an outdoor set of stairs that people use as a form of exercise. It is roughly the height of a seven story building and people go up and down this outside exercise park for an excellent cardio and strength workout. Late morning/early lunch we’ll go into Beverly Hills and hit up Il Pastaio for some Italian food and atmosphere. Try to get a patio seat because the people watching is fantastic. Paparazzi are about looking for a shot of whoever goes into the restaurant. After a morning workout and our bellies filled we head home to relax a bit and get cleaned up for a wonderful afternoon enjoying the ups, downs, lefts, and rights of the Santa Monica mountains. For anybody with a sporty car or motorcycle, I happen to have the latter, this is a local hot spot for anyone who wants to get into some fun in the twistys. Before the sun says its goodbyes for the day, we make a dash to hit up Leo Carrillo beach to watch the sun set and knowing me, take some quick beach fashion portraits. Off to home for a nice home cooked meal.
Weds: Being a photographer, part of my normal routine is to always shoot. So I guess we can use this day as our shoot day. I am firm believer in having amazing clothes for a shoot and currently one of my favorite things to shoot, is faux fur coats from Spirithoods. Lucky for me, they are clients, so our morning would consist of swooping down to the offices in Downtown and grabbing some clothing. And since we are in downtown, we would hit up Zinc cafe in the Art District for breakfast burritos and for me, a side of fries. Because I love fries. And after a bite to eat, we will walk around the Art District of Downtown LA and shoot. It is a fantastic place to find locations that are filled with character, graffiti walls, and plus the light falls perfectly there. Go to the Container Yard and Coffee Hall to get a bit of caffeine. And since we are in the area, we would hit up LA Boulders for a little bit of bouldering and weight lifting. This was LA’s first exclusive bouldering gym and it is amazing. A fun way to exercise without knowing you are exercising. And after a long day of shooting and exercise, we would wrap up our day with dinner at Little Bear, also in the Fashion District. My favorite is the Vegan Burger w/ all the fixings. And Fries. If I’m feeling extra, poutine. Always poutine.
Thurs: After a busy first half of the week, today will be a chill day. Personally, I love hitting the Grove for some open air shopping and relaxing. I find that I can grab what I need in that shopping area plus the people watching is always fun for me. There are always paparazzi around trying to shoot some celeb doing something and I always find it entertaining. My routine is to always grab a coffee at the local Starbuckys in the Farmers Market area and then head out into main area. I’ll stop by Taschen and look at some picture books. I’m a fan big chunky cardigans, so I’ll stop at the BR, J. Crew, and Nordys. Barnes and Nobles is there as well and I’m a sucker for magazines and books. More thank likely, we’ll catch the newest blockbuster at the theater. There will be snacks galore everywhere, so I’m not terribly worried about that but for dinner we would hit Matsuhisa for an excellent sushi dinner. I’m a huge fan of going there vs Nobu. It’s the same thing. Same owner/Chef. The sushi is phenomenal without all the drama of going to the Nobu down the street. But, if you like being part of the scene, by all means hit up the Nobu. Also, if you have time to kill before dinner, around the corner from the Grove is the LACMA. Go look at some art and take pictures in the lamppost exhibit. Everyone does. It is a hot spot.
Fri: After a chill day of shopping and eating, we hit up the Santa Monica mountains for a little bit of climbing and hiking. Its one of the most beautiful climbing spots in the area and its just a nice day out in nature. The climbing is wonderful and the atmosphere is gorgeous. The hike in is nice and scenic. So we’ll pack a bag filled with climbing gear and food. And on our way home, we can hit up Gladstones for dinner overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I’m sure you’ll be famished, so grab the Gladstones Clambake. Its filled with a ton of seafood. And if last nights sushi was too much seafood, I really recommend getting there for their happy hour and fill up on sliders and of course the French Fry boat.
Sat: After a slow morning, we will finally leave the house for a late breakfast at Highly Likely cafe in the West Adams district. Love this place, its a local hot spot for me and I love going there and relaxing with one of their turmeric lattes and breakfast sandwiches. Give me a book, a camera, and someone to shoot with, and that is a perfect morning to me. Being Saturday morning, we head into Santa Monica to go to the Farmers Market and grab fresh fruits and veggies. It’s a fantastic way to spend the late Sat morning. Since we are there, we can walk around the Promenade and window shop or whatever. I typically love taking in the Buskers and enjoying the fresh air of Santa Monica and the beach. On our way back home, we would hit up B Sweet in the Sawtelle area and grab the best Halo Halo in town. Look it up. It’s a fantastic Filipino snack/dessert and I have amazing memories of having it as a child. And Chef Barb has knocked it out of the park with this recipe. She’s also just the sweetest. And now home for a superb home cooked meal with fresh produce from the market! Netflixing the night away will also be on the menu.
Sun: Before dropping her off at the airport, we’ll stop by Milla chocolates for the best place in LA to purchase chocolates and a morning Americano. I can’t express that this is a must in LA if you love sweets and coffee. If you time it right, the 5C Porsche Club does a Sunday morning meet up there so you can grab some chocolates, caffe, and look at some of the coolest Porsches in Los Angeles. My friends Molly and Anthony bring their classic Alfa there too. Before dropping her off, we grab a bite at Sunny Blue on the way for a light lunch. I love omusubi, and they make a great light lunch. They have great Vegan options which I’ll grab but if I feel like treating myself, I’ll also grab the spicy salmon. Super yummy. If that isn’t your cup of tea, go next door because Humble Potato has the best mid range priced burger. Grab a Battle Royale burger and Kare fries for your side! Ok, busy week of showing my spots in LA. Obviously a ton can happen in LA within a week. And really that is so much sensory overload. I’m sorry if this list isn’t too LA/Hollywood. I find that I don’t do that much of that stuff. It may have everything to do with my job of shooting Fashion and Celebrity portraiture that I am completely disinterested in being in the night life of Hollywood.
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?
I really really love this question. Truthfully, my success can be attributed to everyone in my life for the love they have given me or the simpler things, like buying me dinner when I was a starving artist. But if I were to really give appropriate, ” ShoutOuts “, here are some people who have inadvertently contributed to my life without knowing they were contributing to my artistic endeavors. Everything always will start off with my Mom and Dad because they were my foundation to the ethics of who I have become. My siblings because they are the support and love that comes from all corners for all reasons. And if I have to think of people outside of my family, I would have to mention my 7th/8th grade art teacher, Mrs. Mahoney. Without her and her encouragement and guidance, I probably would not have figured out my hidden talents. And jumping ahead, Patty and Jim, my true photography mentors/professors, helped develop my solid technical and creative photographic background while I was in college. They were an amazing source for me to learn and grow from. I’ll always be grateful to them. And I would be remiss if I did not mention Melanie. She was the first person who showed me how you could mentor and inspire others from a place of love and encouragement. I, one hundred percent believe, my managerial style of how I manage my team, comes from her. I also have other people in my life who were also part of a huge support system. And truthfully, I can go on and on, but here are some people that give me more than I can ever give back to them; Jose, Jeff, Shawn and Chris, Erik and Yasmin, Kevin and Germaine, Kelli, Miranda, Natalee, Harper, Al, Em, and Freeman.
Freeman McFadden, Apple Price