COVID-19 has made a huge impact on many people all across the world, and its put many people out of jobs and at some high risks etc. So here at The Vinyl we wanted to celebrate the insanely talented creators in the photography business. We are celebrating the Concert Photographers, the Lifestyle Photographers, the Wedding Photographers, the Wildlife Photographers and every other type of Photographer behind that camera that brings such joy to the eye.
Introducing Viviana Mendoza!!
The Vinyl: Please introduce yourself and tell us your primary photo location(s)?
Viviana Mendoza: Hi! I’m Viviana Jackelin, and I’m a concert photographer based in the Bay Area, I mainly shoot in San Francisco. I’ve been shooting for close to two years now.
TV: How did you know that being a photographer is something you truly wanted to do, and what/who are some inspirations you may have had/have?
VM: Okay, so I started playing with photography in high school, that was when I got my first DSLR but I did the typical portrait and landscape photos. But I remember thinking for a really long time that it was so cool that there were photographers who would shoot shows and how cool it would be to be able to do something like that. But, I never really acted on it, until several years later when I worked for this little marketing agency that did social media and stuff for bands and we worked with all these amazing photographers who would shoot these bands for us. Seeing all these amazing photos was so inspiring!
So it’s a funny story actually, I remember we worked with Too $hort this really popular Bay Area rapper and for some reason we needed someone to shoot a show and couldn’t get a photographer for the show or something and my boss at the time knew I had a DSLR and just kind of threw me under the bus and made me shoot this show! So I knew nothing about shooting a show but I had so much fun. My photos were by no means amazing, but it lit something inside of me, it was this really amazing challenge and I just wanted to keep trying. The next show I shot after that was for work again, but it was Keuning from The Killers who played a show at the Independent in San Francisco, and I remember being so proud of those photos and that was kind of it. I’m really glad that I didn’t give up on it and I’m still pushing myself to improve and to learn more and more!
TV: What equipment is a must-have for you no matter where you are going to be working? What does your typical photographing setup look like?
VM: My set up is really basic actually I have a Canon 6D Mark II, and my main lens is a Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8. I’ve played around with some other lenses, but the Sigma 28-70mm is my holy grail lens! It gives me enough variety in focal lengths so that I don’t have to juggle with other lenses, its honestly such an amazing lens.
My camera bag also usually holds ear plugs, a few extra memory cards, lens wipes, spare lens caps, and a spare battery or two.
TV: What are some of your favorite techniques when it comes to editing styles/ways you present your work? Do you have different aesthetics for different types of work?VM: I think I haven’t really figured out my editing style yet, I feel like I’m always doing things differently trying to find what makes me happy with my photos. But I guess that I have noticed that I like to generally like to keep them a little moodier, cooler, and darker I think would be a way to describe the aesthetic that they’re kind of leaning towards.
TV: COVID-19 has completely changed the lifestyle for soooo many different people, how has it effected you? Whether its work/photo related or just all together? How do you keep yourself busy?
VM: COVID-19 has affected my work and my photo work all together! Things have slowed down with the bands that I work for, and there’s not too much going on, things were definitely crazier at the beginning having to deal with things getting rescheduled and canceled. I had a ton of shows that I was going to shoot in the new few months and it’s completely wiped out all of my plans for the time being. Hopefully this clears up soon and we’ll just have a rush of shows and work coming in to make up for everything!
I’ve been trying to keep myself busy by taking time to learn new things, I’m taking some marketing courses and some new coding classes for fun now that I have the time! Apart from that I’ve been baking a lot, trying out new recipes and catching up on a lot of reading.
TV: Now that Concerts/Festivals/Events/ Social Gatherings(weddings, reunions, family portraits etc) /Sports etc are being cancelled/postponed all over the world due to COVID-19, how are you finding ways to stay creative?
VM: I’m revisiting old photos and playing around with them and just messing around with Lightroom to practice a bit.
TV: Once all this (hopefully) goes away, what are some of your plans to get back to a somewhat “normal” schedule?
VM: I’m really just going with it right now, I don’t really want to plan anything just yet because everything is so uncertain so I’m just trying my best to stay positive and keep busy!
TV: What are some of your favorite creative pieces/photos/opportunities
VM: Before everything started shutting down I got to shoot my favorite band Holy Fawn like 3 times on their last tour, and I love shooting those guys! They’re such a great band, and they’re the nicest guys ever! So it was really great to be able to shoot them three times in the span of like a month.
Here are a few of Viviana’s favorite photos:
TV: Is there anything you would like to add as we end this interview?
VM: Thanks Alyssa for this cool opportunity! I hope that everyone is staying safe, and positive. We’re all going to get through this together.