WORDS BY: Ajay Woolery, Mara Weinstein
COVER IMAGE: @maraweinstein
Mara Weinstein is a Film photographer based in L.A. Through her work, Mara Attempts to capture raw Moments with the intent goal of evoking strong emotions. Along with her work as a freelancer mara also explores her creativity through music. In our Interview we speak to Mara about her journey and overcoming obstacles as a creative person navigating the world and industry.
FOR THOSE WHO AREN’T FAMILIAR WITH YOUR WORK, GIVE US AN INTRODUCTION OF YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO...
Hi there! My name is Mara Weinstein and I am a film photographer. I was born and raised in Arizona, but moved out here after college to do creative work with JNCO jeans, and ever since I have been doing freelance photography. A little secret about me is I am also a musician, so stay tuned for a big surprise coming soon.
A: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY INITIALLY DREW YOU INTO PHOTOGRAPHY?
Growing up I wasn't very popular, but I was always full of creative energy. I was intrigued by a more avant garde style because I was merely exposed to the cookie-cutter aesthetic that was recycled in my hometown. Years ago, I would take disposable photos of everyone and their mother. Then, I inherited my grandfather's film cameras and bought a little rinky-dink point and shoot. I used it until it quite literally broke in half. I used a private account called "filmbymara" and posted my friends. I only shoot on film and a quintessential film photo captures emotion. It's all about your connection with the subject. I've simultaneously grown in confidence as I've grown as a photographer. I have a story with every photo I've taken, and have built some of my most meaningful relationships with the wonderful humans who work with me.
A: HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE AESTHETIC OF YOUR WORK?
I'm pretty all over the place. I like capturing raw moments. May that have a more sensual, punk, colorful or uneasy feeling, it just depends on the day. I like to use irony in most of my photos. High fashion styling in places that don't make sense. Such as a ballgown in a bodega. (I just thought of that, and now I'm definitely going to do this...)
JUSTINE MAE BITICON WEARING KIM SHUI BY MARA WEINSTEIN
A: IF YOUR WORK WAS TO BE COMPILED INTO A PINTEREST BOARD WHAT WOULD IT BE NAMED? WHY?
"Uneasy emotions" I like photos where you feel something. I like making old homophbic / prude folk feel uncomfortable. I also like to make someone smile, cry or inspire them to shoot something themselves.
A: WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT YOU DO TO ENGAGE YOURSELF CREATIVELY? AND, HOW WOULD YOU SAY THEY AFFECT YOUR PROCESS AND FINAL WORK?
I don't have a lot of routine in my life, but creative projects are the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. Even if it's a small job or I'm working with my idols, when I get that film back I am a kid in the candy store. It's the best feeling in the world. And when I get in a slump, I try to remember those photos where I look at them and say "Ah, this is why I do what I do!"
A: AS A CREATIVE HOW DO YOU NAVIGATE AND OVERCOME REJECTION WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR WORK?
You have to have thick skin, know your worth, read contracts, and be extremely selective about who you let into your creative space. I have grown such a family in this industry, and we have each other's backs. Always credit the whole team and don't work with people who don't respect the assistant, MUA, stylist, and every single human involved in a project. If you get rejected by a dream job, then just create the work you want to be hired for. Let your work speak for itself.
ALEXANDER DROTH, TYLER MAZAHERI AND LILY LOOMIS BY MARA WEINSTEIN / COLLAGE: LILY BUTTERFIELD
A: STICKING WITH THE THEME OF OVERCOMING, WITH RESPECT TO YOUR CREATIVE PURSUITS AND CAREER WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME PF THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES THAT YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME?
I think I had a time where I was accepting tons of collabs when I first started, and honestly big influencers don't even get you exposure! It's really more about the quality of work. I'd rather work with an underground model who inspires me to create something out of this world. I've dealt with not being credited for my work from huge, life changing projects, but it's all part of a learning experience.
A: THIS YEAR HAS BEEN A WHIRLWIND FOR ALL OF US, WHAT ARE TWO TAKEAWAYS YOU HAVE FROM 2020?
This year has been the most successful yet traumatizing year of my life. It's funny, 15 year old Mara would really look up to me right now. However, I am not even close to where I want to be. Not even a little bit. The only way I have stayed even a little bit afloat this year is because of my incredible parents, brother, and friends who inspire me daily.
SOURCE: MARA WEINSTEIN
A: WHO ARE SOME CREATIVES ( MUSICIANS, ARTIST ETC.) YOU’RE IN LIVE WITH RIGHT NOW?
I really am most inspired by my own friends. Paige Strabala, Tyler Mazaheri and Bryce Anderson have minds like no other! They all do self-portraits in a way I've never seen done before.
A: FINALLY WHAT IS SOME OF THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED AND WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANOTHER YOUNG CREATIVE/PHOTOGRAPHER
First of all, INSTAGRAM IS A FACADE. Most artists have the luxury of being surrounded by such a glamorous looking life. BTS of photo shoots, lots of PR, and beautiful people. I could be having the worst day of my life and post a beautiful photo. Take the pressure off yourself. Strip everything down to the essence what makes good art. Work with people that inspire you. And the biggest misconception is that these people need to be famous or influencers. The most talented artists I know are very lowkey on social media. Reach out to people that inspire you and accept help where you need it.
That Brings us to the end of our Interview with Mara, we certainly learned a lot about her work and story but also about what it means to be a resilient creative. We want to say a special thanks to Mara for joining us.
Learn more about Mara and her work below! ( MAKE SURE TO GIVE HER A FOLLOW! 😉)