We had the good fortune of connecting with Roberto Amado-Cattaneo III and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Roberto, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
There’re two stories here… I had been a freelance fashion photographer in Los Angeles for a few years before I started the studio in July of 2020. Up until that point I was working as an independent contractor for other studios, and the longer I shot for other studios the more I realized that I was really just operating as a skilled laborer with very little creative freedom or autonomy. There are certain benefits to punching a clock, but I also knew that I could do more, and that if I were willing to take certain risks that I could benefit greatly. I wanted more control and also more freedom which now seems like an oxymoron because you do sacrifice some freedom for that level of control, but that control does, however, give me creative freedom and the agency to be who I am as an artist. I am finally in the driver seat. For the first time I am making the schedule, I am consulting clients, and I am dictating what my time and energy is worth. But that isn’t why I did it. The reality was that my partner of five years and I split during the pandemic, and I was out of work and virtually broke. As the world crumbled around me, I had two choices. One, curl up in a ball, or two forge ahead. The crisis stripped me of all the comforts that had kept me trapped in state of complacency. After COVID struck and I was left in limbo there weren’t any excuses, and essentially I had nothing to lose. In hindsight, I should not have waited for the crisis to spur me to action, but that is what it took.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
You have to appreciate the journey because you never know where you are going to end up. You set goals and timelines, but ultimately life unfolds in its own way. I realized also that I am always changing as an artist. One thing that I thought was cool or profound one day will segue into something totally different. The inspiration and what I’m drawn to is continually changing. Ironically, there I find that I will even return to older work that quote un-quote abandoned and see it in a new light. You crop it differently or make a lighting adjustment and voila! It’s something totally different. Recently while going through an archive of images I realized that was more adventurous. As the stakes grew I became more and more cautious and as photography became my profession I lost some of the playful aspects. One of my goals now is to remember to have fun. This was never about making money it was about creating images that inspired me. As selfish as that sounds the images were always for me to create or capture something as I though it was or how I wanted it to be. As the business side of things crept in I got a little tight. One thing that I regret is not pursuing a mentor early on. I can only imagine the pitfalls I would have avoided. Also I wish that there were someone there to ask questions to get feedback. Ironically, the internet made it possible for me to find all the answers I needed but sometimes you don’t even know what questions to ask you just know that you two and two aren’t adding up.

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.
Good question… next question. Just kidding. The ocean had been the real anchor for me here in Los Angeles. The work is what brought me here, but the ocean is what keeps me. One of my favorite spots to enjoy the sea is up at Leo Carrillo. I actually stumbled upon it because it was one of the few beaches where you can take your dog. Leo Carrillo has a way of making you forget about the sprawl. You get to check out for a moment. It’s stunning rock formations and abundant sea life make it a charming little destination. Back in the city I would have, pre-covid, drug a friend out to the Black Rabbit Rose to see friend and pianist Dave Yaden. Dave and the quintet pack the little red back room with high energy jazz vibes that virtually make you howl. They wouldn’t be open, but afterward, I would love to cap the night with a delicious smash burger from Burger’s Never Say Die over near Silver Lake. I consider myself a bit of connoisseur.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Gosh, I don’t want to leave anyone out, so let me start by saying that there are so many people that have been insturmental in my development as an artist and supported my endeavours directly and indirectly from youtubers like Aaron Nace at Phlearn to my closest friends filmaker Christopher Burgart over at Archon Films. In this case Aaron Nace’s passion for learning and photoshop single handedly taught me practically everything I know about post production. Christopher not only introduced me to unit production but was one of my first clients in Los Angeles. I was so nervous when I sat down with him and his partner at in the Lounge of the Standard in Hollywood. There was lots of competition and I felt so grateful to land the job. On a more personal note my father Roberto Amado-Cattaneo has always been there. You think you know what your parents want from you, but later you realize that they love you in a way you can’t even imagine and all they want is for you to be happy and to be fulfilled. I jumped from one thing to the next, trying to hone in on what felt genuine for what felt like a my thing, and I always thought he would never approve of the next endeavor that at some point he would give up on my search, but he never did. Professionally speaking Jenny Dayco, Stylist and Jeweler, is a person that went from chance encounter to game changer. Never discount who will walk into your life. We met at a Parisian bar at a professional gathering and as a result of our friendship and her professional relationships my work will be published in InStyle Magazine featuring work from celebrity stylist Emma Trask. You look back and think damn… what if… The other thing is that I realized more than anything people like working with people they like. When working long hours for little pay… you need good company… you need their energy and their support.

Website: www.amacaphotography.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amadocattaneo/
Youtube: https://youtu.be/Rv1ngpWjaL8

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