We had the good fortune of connecting with Kseniya Berson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kseniya, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
This is going to seem a bit dark but I promise it’s not. My favorite quote is,
“The definition of hell is: On your last day on Earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” — Anonymous
I know it seems dark but I’m a person who loves to read quotes, or even needs them to help me put things into perspective sometimes, and this quote stopped me in my tracks. It’s one thing to tell someone to work hard to achieve that lifestyle, career, body, whatever it is you want – it’s another to paint a picture of: you can sit on your couch, or go to that job you hate daily, or stay in that mediocre relationship, but imagine one day you will meet and shake hands with the person you could have become. They are the best version of you, whatever that is to you personally. Will it be like looking in a mirror? Are they pretty similar to who you are working on being, or are they so far off because they put in the work and took the chances that you didn’t? I’m not saying everyone will be the next billionaire, or have a 6 pack or whatever, but we can all be the best versions of ourselves so this quote always stuck with me to work on myself just a little bit each day.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a luxury portrait and wedding photographer. The thing that I am most proud of in my business are the connections I have made. Seeing the world and making money doing something you love is amazing. Not a day goes by that I am not so thankful that I get to do what I love and call it a job, but there is no feeling in the world that is better than hearing a client get emotional, having their voice break a little bit, and having them tell you, “Wow. I can’t believe that’s me in that photo. I have never felt more beautiful.”
Like most people, I grew up with insecurities and was bullied. My story is not unique but being a woman that grew up hyper sensitive, feeling like I was not good enough for reasons I may have seen in the media, or maybe even made up in my own head, I knew that if I can help other women see their beauty, I can help them step into their power. Beauty is not the photograph that I make for you; Beauty is what you have on the inside that shines through that photo.
It’s a snow ball effect. We don’t notice it day to day but we get so busy that we may forget to take care of ourselves or take time to do something nice just for ourselves. When you do a portrait session, it helps you take a step back and see yourself the way the world sees you and helps you celebrate life a bit. I think that’s really important to do for everyone. You start small by doing something fun like a portrait session and it leads you to feeling better, which leads you to maybe taking better care of yourself or taking more chances, or scheduling more regular me time – whatever it is for you. Seeing yourself in that new light (no pun intended) can only lead to more confidence and more great things and I love providing people with that experience.
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?
Ooooh I love this. If I had a friend visiting me for a weekend in LA.. well, first of all, we’re staying somewhere in WeHo. We would start our mornings at either Verve Coffee or Cha Cha Matcha. We’d then spend the afternoon just walking around the Beverly Hills / West Hollywood area. Someone once told me that ‘no one walks in LA’ but I’m from the east coast and one of my favorite things to do is to simply grab a drink with a friend and just walk around outside, enjoying the beautiful weather. After window shopping, or actual shopping on Melrose, we’d end the night at one of the many amazing restaurants in West Hollywood: Gracias Madre, Cecconi’s, Craig’s, Olivetta – they’re all pretty great.
The next day, I’d probably start off with a hike at Griffith. It’s such a gorgeous location and I love that you can see the city skyline. To me it just feels like a pretty classic spot to really enjoy the atmosphere of LA. Then I’d spend the day checking out the museums. The Broad is one of my favorite museums so I’d definitely go there. The Getty is undeniably gorgeous so that’s a must see. I also love to check out what the current exhibits are at the time that I am there and see if there’s any pop up museum experiences but I would definitely spend a whole day just museum hopping.
On the last day, we’d grab a car and head over to Malibu. I could spend forever in Malibu. I don’t get enough time in my life to just let my mind rest, because I am always on the go and always doing something for work, so any time I get to just unwind, I take it and try to do a whole lot of nothing. I love to bring a little blanket, grab something from the hot bar at Erewhon, and just sit on the beach, journal, listen to the waves, and relax. I know Erewhon is an eye roll for some people but I have a very specific diet due to my auto immune diagnosis and places like Erewhon make me feel like I don’t have to dig to try to find something I can actually have. They have such a wide variety of food for every diet that it is really comforting for someone who can’t always eat whatever is closest. After a day of lounging in Malibu, we’d finish off with dinner at either Taverna Tony’s, Malibu Farms, or of course the typical choice, Nobu.
Now I want to go and do exactly this this weekend.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mama deserves alllll the credit. She was the only person that believed in my dreams when no one else did. Not to age myself here but when I wanted to be a full time photographer, it wasn’t cool. It wasn’t meetings in coffee shops over lattes and flying across the country for shoots. It was, ‘How are you going to support yourself when what you want to do full time is most people’s hobby so people can always find someone cheaper?’ My mom was like, “You want to do this? It’s going to take a lot more work and energy than working a 9-5 but if you want it, go get it.” There have been, and still are, countless nights that I cried to her and wanted to quit but she was the reason I always kept, and keep, going.