We had the good fortune of connecting with Marissa de la Torre and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marissa, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk has played a major part in my life. Moving to LA a little over ten years with no job lined up with rent and my car note due was a huge risk but I knew staying where I was in the bay area I would become complacent and always think what if..So I chose to risk my comfortable surroundings to entering the unknown; Los Angeles. When I first moved to LA I quickly did what many others do who are trying to figure it out and got a couple jobs at restaurants. Some worked out and some did not. I then got a 9-5 job at a start up in the tech industry to gain some experience in an area I did not know. After a couple of years of “figuring” it out. I was not really succeeding at that part. I felt just as stuck as I did before I moved to LA, although this time I had successfully not worked at a restaurant full time. It was then I felt like it was time to make another big jump/risk and leave my cushy 9-5 office manager job to start my own thing; a dog walking/pet photography business in the heart of downtown la/dtla. I was already living in dtla and saw the need for dog walkers and figured I could integrate my love for pet ( mostly dog) photography in the mix as well. It mostly worked- for about five years I was busy. I had my own business and merged with another pet service and we were paying our bills and then some. I was able to to photograph pets and their owners, rescue and shelter dogs and take side gigs as a photographer when needed. But I did get burnout from the dog walking part, although we had employees it still ran me to the ground and I realized I was not putting the effort I really wanted to into photography, not just pet photography but other areas like; portraiture, products and events. It was then I decided to take another risk and walk away from my dog walking business and focus on becoming a better more successful photographer. This happened in January 2018. So from there I went back to the drawing board and tried to figure out how to make money as a working photographer not just focusing on pets. Was a huge risk- especially in a place like LA where it’s very competitive and its really who you know.. I’m so happy I made that decision although it was a tough and hard one. It still is but I knew if I didn’t I would have major regrets of not trying. Sometimes we forget why we move to a place like LA and get caught up on just surviving. I recently moved to Long Beach after being in dtla for about ten years, another risk. But based on my past “jumps” I’m ok with it. I have a car and I look at it as another area to meet other people and businesses to eventually work with once things open up a little.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In retrospect I’m super proud that I did the dog walking/pet photography business. While doing it I was not. It was a means to an end. Although I love pets, and people may think its “fun”- it is, but its a lot of work and quickly becomes a grind especially when in a crazy ass neighborhood like downtown la. But without that part of my story I wouldn’t have met a lot of the people who I’m close with now and have helped me in all the ways; professionally and creatively. Now as a working freelance photographer it’s still not easy to find clients and gigs. Especially with covid. But I have learned a lot of lessons during this time and before that have led me up to this point. Super simple, but you never know who you will meet and what will come out of it- so always be nice and cool- you just never know. Emotionally reacting is not cute and is a huge practice everyday but it’s never is usually worth it. So basically I try not to quickly react to messages via text or email without taking a min or a a long min to really think and not let me emotions do the reacting. It’s a hard one but never really works out in my favor when I react immediately. Receiving “no’s” is ok and apart of the story journey. I often get caught up in fear and getting rejected but it really doesnt matter and might as well put myself out there and ask. Not loosing anything. Ego can be creepy though, our own egos. I don’t really have much to say about the world knowing my brand/story. Just be yourself and keep it weird. No right or wrong way of doing things. I’m super stubborn but realize we all need a lil guidance and help so find that balance!
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.
Being that I just recently moved to Long Beach/LBC from Downtown La, I would prefer to stay around here in Long Beach although of course pre covid there was plenty to do in downtown la. In the LBC we would kick it at all the different little beaches here morning and or into the evening. Get some grub in downtown Long Beach on one of their many make shift outdoor patios. Ride our bikes around LBC or rollerskate.. Drive around and look at all the different neighborhoods and more beaches, more south into Orange County. Get some drinks at some local bars off 2nd street in Long Beach. Walk around a lot and just live the Long beach life with a spliff in our hand- ha.
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?
The men in my life have been a huge contributing factor in my creative life. .