Swinnerton: Why and how did you become a Photographer?
Aurelio: I have always loved photography. My family is very artistic within every medium from music to drawing and I found my niche early as a photographer. At that time it was more of a hobby than something to seriously pursue as a career. It wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles in 2006 that I realized the 9-5-office job was just not going to work for me. I started to seek out photography not just as an expression of my art, but also as a career.
After moving to Las Vegas in 2009 and going through the ups and downs of the job market, I decided to go to school at The College of Southern Nevada for Commercial Photography. This was the single best life decision I had ever made. It is not easy to take that leap of faith as an adult to go for something you are truly passionate about.
Swinnerton: What kind of photography do you do for your business?
Aurelio: The main focus of my business is food photography, but I also shoot editorial, product, commercial portraits etc. As a freelance full time photographer, it helps to have a niche as well as being a Jack (or Jane) of all trades. I work with restaurants, chefs, marketing agencies and so on. I even did a cookbook promo this year with the help of the local design team Studio Holladay.
Swinnerton: What inspires you?
Aurelio: Art in itself inspires me. I love all artistic media from great painters like Rothko, to fine fashion, to architecture and modern design. I drool over the magazine Dwell. And of course food! I am a visual artist so I am always taking inspiration from the world around me and incorporate it into my work. Food is beautiful. It is colorful, delicious and is full of life. I try to capture that vibrancy and tell a story with my photographs.
Swinnerton: Have you always thought of yourself as an entrepreneur?
Aurelio: In a sense I have always had the heart of an entrepreneur. I grew up in Ohio where you worked in a factory, in an office or in retail. I knew in my heart this was not the right path for me. I could not foresee my career right now, but I always yearned for a life where I could work with businesses and still be creative. If you love your job you will never work a day in your life. I hope to never “work” again.
Swinnerton: Professionally, who inspires you?
Aurelio: There are so many fantastic food photographers that inspire me. I am the first one to be blown away by someone’s portfolio and I can appreciate the work that goes into getting that perfect chocolate drip. Anyone who takes a leap of faith to start a small business or comes up with the next great idea keeps me going. I love meeting people who follow their passion no matter what obstacles come their way.
Swinnerton: What are some of the projects that you are most proud of?
Aurelio: I am proud and excited about every project I work on. Getting to shoot for Edible Monterey Bay magazine has been a blast. I only moved to Santa Cruz in 2012, so having the opportunity to get involved locally, meet people on a personal level and take photographs that represent the beauty that is this great area is amazing. I also loved working with New Leaf Community Markets on their holiday and catering menus. It was a team effort to shoot an entire Thanksgiving dinner and so much fun. Being able to help businesses capture their product in a beautiful photo keeps me going. When a client says, “That’s the money shot”, I am happy.
Swinnerton: What do you enjoy most about being a photographer?
Aurelio: I love the challenge of being able to take a client’s story or project and bring it to life. No two shoots are ever the same. My brain has to be able to flip a switch on a dime not just to get a beautiful shot, but to master light, composition, angles etc. It is a very scientific and technical job as well as artistic one.
Swinnerton: Lastly, what is next for Angela Aurelio?
Aurelio: I am hoping to move into a studio in 2014 where I can continue to shoot food and also add in packaging and product photography.
I want to continue to grow within the community and to get to work with more local businesses on their websites and menu photos. There is so much goodness packed in to just a few square miles and my dream is to get to capture it all.