We had the good fortune of connecting with Marjorie Salvaterra and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marjorie, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
What’s balance? Haha. My husband and I have two teenagers, one little old lady dog and one big wild puppy. I used to try and balance everything by prioritizing. My family comes first. Then the pandemic hit and there’s no more balance really. This is a just get through it moment as peacefully as possible. I alway say peace over perfection. As a mom, I’m not a person who photographs every day and I’m ok with that. For my work, it’s really important for me to live my life. Those are the stories I want to tell. If I’m not living, I’ve got nothing to say. When I’m not driving kids to school, dance, robotics and playdates, I add balance by surrounding myself with incredible friends. My best friend is my friend since kindergarten. I have all my friends from growing up and college. And through my work, I’ve created this really special group of women. We have the best time on shoot days. I always try and take everyone for coffee after, where we sit and gab for hours. When I work and play, those are my best days. With my husband we have two date nights a week, one at home and one night out. We’ve done this for 20+ years. Everything is good when I know I have this to look forward to. And for that last little boost, I love shopping therapy, a good haircut, and for my sanity, I drag myself to yoga a few days a week… sometimes less. I hate doing it but I love having done it!
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.
Let’s be honest. This is really my third career. Who ever thought I’d grow up to be an art photographer. My parents used to hang my artwork in the garage, growing up — under the guise that they loved driving up and seeing my work. (it was a painting stage) I was actually writing when I picked up photography by accident. My husband was producing a movie in Morocco and I’d spend the mornings writing and then go out and travel around a bit. I brought along a little point and shoot camera we had gotten for our wedding. The photographer on the movie would look at my photos and told me I had a good eye. Then he brought me on set to learn to use a real camera. He suggested I take a class with Julia Dean, who now runs The Los Angeles Center For Photography — an AMAZING place for hobbyist to professionals!. I started with a black and white film class and pretty quickly, people started buying my work. I think my career really took off though when I started making work from my own life. (My series HER) I had the pictures in my head and when I started shooting them, I thought people would think I had lost my mind. Instead, I couldn’t believe how people related. My biggest challenges with my work are coming up with ideas, once I finish a series. “What’s next?”, I always ask myself. “And how can I grow as an artist?” I’m praying I never run out of stories to tell!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Yeeks. I’m kind of a homebody! But I love going to the ballet at The Music Center downtown. And I love seeing shows at the Pantages. Both, I don’t do nearly often enough. I used to live near the beach and hardly ever went, but as I grow older, the more I absolutely love it! My kids love Little Tokyo and I’ll go anywhere to try a good coffee!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
ALL the people who show up, at all hours of the day and night, dress up and undress, climb trees naked, jump on trampolines in the middle of the street in downtown LA, stand in the ocean at 6am on a cold February morning, climb into my bathtub, climb out windows, smoke cigarettes and drink wine before breakfast, and far too many other weird things, all to be in my photos! That’s where the credit belongs! To all my brave and daring friends and family!