We had the good fortune of connecting with Veronica Slavin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Veronica, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
It’s as if I didn’t have a choice. I’ve always been creative growing up. I had a wild imagination and couldn’t sit still in school, but did good in spite of that, academically. I loved art. When I was 16, I saw a photo of Annie Leibovitz photographing Elton John and it was if someone turned on a switch in my head that that would be a perfect fit for me. I could create images without drawing them. Perfect fit! My parents bought me a small camera and decided I should go to a well known photography school in my hometown of Santa Barbara, California. That changed as my mother passed away shortly after I graduated high school. I married a professional surfer and he bought me my first SLR camera for our first holiday together. I pursued surf photography, but that wasn’t going to pay my bills, so I worked retail and opened up a couple of surf shops with my now ex husband. I later found myself single and needing to pay my bills, so I turned my love of photography into the paying job by photographing weddings. It was a great fit for me. I’ve expanded my photo studio to include commercial and social media work. Meeting and photographing people is something that just comes naturally to me, but I’m always willing to learn and grow more.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
One of the most unique things about me as a photographer is that I have been one for over forty years. The amount of experience and people that I’ve had the pleasure of photographing kind of blows me away when I think about it. Sometimes, I will catch myself in situation that I would have never dreamed of. Also, I have never grown tired of learning more about what I do and still push myself creatively as well as physically. I am most proud that I’ve pushed on a few glass ceilings. First as being on of only a few, female surf photographers in the 1980s and currently taking photos in a typical male dominated industry-aircraft. I don’t limit myself to a specific genre of photography as it all is fun and challenging for me. It was not easy going from a broke single mom to owning and running my own studio. Lots of lost sleep as well as missing a lot of time away from my kids while they were growing up. They understood I did what I had to do, but there are a few regrets, for sure!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
100% I’d take them to my hometown of Santa Barbara. I still live close by. I would show them the usual sites and architecture there, but I would also take them off the beaten track and show them the city that helped shape me! The courthouse, a silent film at the Arlington Theater, lunch on the patio at La Playa Azul. A trip to the SB Natural History Museum to push the button to make the fake rattlesnake rattle. (It’s been there since I was a kid.) A dance lesson for Summer Solstice with La Boheme, an avant guard dance troupe that I’m in. A walk down the bougainvillea covered path to an obscure beach in Montecito. Hike into Hollister Ranch at low tide. Mesa Lane stairs near where the Beach Boys used to live. Farmer’s Market on a Friday morning in Montecito. Coffee at Jeanne’s Bakery downtown.
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?
Yes, I would love to shout out to two people: Jimmy Velarde, 12 time Emmy winning cameraman who met me when I was a broke, single mom working in a grocery store. He encouraged me to aim high and helped me think through some key decision making processes in regards to my business. Jeanne Tanner who I worked for when I started as a wedding photographer. Her company fronted me the money for my photo gear and I paid it off by working for her company as a photographer. She believed in me. She continues to push me with her ability to ask the questions that brought me growth.
Linkedin: Veronica Slavin
Facebook: Veronica Slavin Photography
Other: Slavin Media. New venture at the new studio.