Because I often receive emails from readers asking questions about my work, my background or just random, fun questions about me, I decided to compile the most frequently asked. If there's something you'd like to know and you don't see an answer here, please feel free to email me directly at ciaochessa (at) gmail (dot) com Thanks so much for your interest!
You can also read recent interviews that I did with Imprint Magazine, Flickr Spotlight Seven and Better Than a Cupcake.
1. How long have you been a photographer and did you go to school for photography?
I've loved taking photos for as long as I can remember but I never went to school for it. I am completely self-taught. My dad is an amateur photographer so since I was little I've been taking photos with him.
2. How did you know that you wanted to be a photographer professionally?
Well, I didn't always know this! I am a lawyer and for three years I worked in a large firm in New York City and while I felt challenged by the work that I was doing, I knew I wasn't doing what I loved. Photography was just a hobby and a creative outlet for me until I decided that I wanted to try it full-time.
I became a "Corporate Dropout" and even though it's been a very long road and not at all an easy one, I have never been happier.
3. I want to switch careers - what advice can you give me?
Check out this post.
4. I want to be a full-time photographer - what advice can you give me?
I am definitely not an expert or a career counselor - I can only talk about my own experience. I was feeling like I was stuck in something that although lucrative, was not for me. It didn't feel right and I knew that the longer I stayed in what I was doing, the more difficult it was going to be to make the switch. Still, I felt very motivated because I knew that photography is my passion. I also had a lot of support from my husband and my family which ultimately made all the difference.
I spent a lot of time researching a potential career as a photographer before I left my corporate job and I started to realize that a photography career, like many creative professions, cannot be so easily defined and definitely cannot be put into a box. Rome was not built in a day and I'm learning more and doing more all the time as I network, meet new people and explore different opportunities. One thing that has been a constant is that I am always true to myself and honest with myself. I have always been open to change and to learning more and trying new things and when you're making a career change, this is a key ingredient.
5. What equipment do you use?
Right now I shoot primarily with a Nikon d300 (currently discontinued but still fabulous!). My three current favorite lenses are this zoom lens, this prime lens and this prime lens (my dad "lent" this one to me a while ago and I'm holding it hostage--love it!).
I also love my Fuji Instax (check it out) and my iPhone (obsessed).
6. Are all the photos on your blog yours?
All of the images on my blog, including my self-portraits, are taken and processed by me unless I say otherwise. To the extent that I use another photographer's or artist's images or the text from another site, I provide links and copyright information.
7. Can I use your photos for my site?
Absolutely! If you'd like to use my photos for your site please link back to the blog or my website. However, I don't allow my photos to be used commercially without my express written permission. If you'd like to discuss a licensing arrangement, please send me an email at ciaochessa (at) gmail (dot) com
8. In your opinion, what is the best camera?
The best camera is the one you have! Just check out my iPhone photos if you don't believe me.
9. Can we exchange links?
Ciao, Chessa! does not participate in link exchanges or sell any text links on the blog. My blog roll is a list of current favorite sites and daily reads. You can find this list up top under Sites I Love. The list is always evolving though so please send me a link to your site because I love to discover new stuff!
10. Do you accept sponsorships?
I am open to sponsorships with companies or people who might be of interest to me and my readers.
I will also accept products to review on a case by case basis. If you'd like to collaborate, please send me an email at ciaochessa [at] gmail [dot] com.
You can also find more information here.
11. Will you review my product?
I participate in product reviews on a case by case basis. It’s a great way to test out new products and introduce them to my readers. Any items or products sent to me to review will have a “c/o” next to it indicating that it was a “courtesy of” item. I also review products for companies of which I am an "Affiliate". When this is the case I will state as such in a post and the post will also be filed under "Affiliates".
You can also find more information here.
12. I want to start an art and photography blog - do you have any tips?
I don't think there is formula for writing a blog but I would say to write often and write about what you love and feel passionate about. There is so much out there already so I would also say to look at other sites that you admire for inspiration. You can look at my blogroll above for some great sites that I look to.
13. What inspires you most?
I am constantly inspired by New York. I feel so lucky to live in the city where I'm motivated daily by the crazy, kinetic energy, fascinating people and that great feeling of anonymity.
But, these days, what inspires me most is my amazing baby daughter. I never could have imagined what being a mom could be like and she has quickly become my best, most surprising and favorite subject. She changes from second to second!
14. What is your specialty?
I don't really have one. The focus of my work is street and travel photography but I love portraits best. I am also completely fascinated by the many moods of the ocean - especially on eastern long island where my husband and I have a second home.
15. Do you have a favorite photo?
I only have one child but if I had more than one I would liken this question to the one where people ask you which child is your favorite! In other words, it's impossible for me to answer this question because I honestly love them all the same. My photos are my memories and I can look at each one and remember the exact moment where I took it, how I felt that day, where I was, why I felt compelled to take it. If that sounds like a lot it's because it is!
But, if I absolutely had to choose a current favorite it is this portrait that I took, with my point and shoot, twelve hours after my daughter was born. I went through fifteen hours of labor and amazingly didn't feel tired until days after - I think I was just high on life! Just twelve hours after I gave birth, my sister, who was also pregnant at the time and due to have her second in less than two months, came to visit me with my beautiful niece and Goddaughter who was 2 years old at the time. I had my new baby in my lap when she came into my room and immediately asked to get up on the bed so she could get a closer look at her baby cousin. I had the point and shoot and captured the exact moment when they met. I will always treasure this photograph. I shot it without a flash and later processed it in Photoshop - proof again that the best camera is the one that you have with you:)
16. Is there a gallery where I can see your work?
I am represented on a non-exclusive basis by an art dealer in New York and one in Buenos Aires, Argentina. When I am having an exhibit I market it here and sites like Facebook and Twitter. You can also join my mailing list by emailing me.
17. What is it that compels you to take a certain photograph?
The answer is always the same - I simply must record the memory in my mind and make it last forever. I love inventing and making up stories. I can't help it. It's a necessity. I often find myself examining the minutiae and I feel excited by those things that most people just overlook.