Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Weil.
Stephanie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve always been interested in photography. Ever since 5th grade all I did was walk around with a camera, observing the world through my lens. It wasn’t until high school where I had the opportunity to go to A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Best, Florida, where I majored in digital media. There I was able to study photo, design, and video, learning technical skills and learning how to conceptualize art and build a portfolio by the time my senior year rolled around.
I started off with the basics, like many of us do, taking pictures of animals and flowers, but then my grandfather passed away my junior year of high school and my work took a turn. I had an archive of images that I took that didn’t mean anything to me personally. On the other hand, I had inherited three giant family albums from my grandfather that included hundreds of images of my ancestors and immediate family. When he passed, I started digitally juxtaposing those images together to try and connect the dots in a way between my family’s present time and mine – the results were haunting. That was the first project where I “turned my mess into my message” and have been trying to incorporate that into my work ever since.
Fast forward to undergrad, where I am still currently pursuing my love for photography and the creative arts at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. I would describe it like a bigger Dreyfoos, it’s another tight knit community where you really get to establish close relationships with classmates and professors in your major, and I could not be more grateful for the network I have here. I was fortunate enough to land two internships the past two summers here in Downtown Boston in the healthcare/advertising/women’s health field as a creative intern and continue to keep working in the creative content field.
But my life did take a turn back in October 2016 when I was sexually assaulted by a stranger on a Saturday afternoon – broad daylight. Who would think that that much evil could take place in the light of day. This is still an ongoing court case, so I will leave it at that, and say that if you know anyone or are someone who has experienced a sexual assault, there is always an outlet, a person, a way to get out of it – find that positive light even when I know there might seem like there isn’t one.
My photo project post-incident was very much charged by the emotional and psychological struggle and disorientation brought on by PTSD and severe anxiety yet will not stand to be defined by them. These are driving forces, but not my label, and plan to separate future works from personal experiences. But photography will always be my number one outlet to express my emotions and be able to connect with others through art, a medium which I believe is so invaluable to our world.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Like I stated before, it was not an easy dealing with the assault so early into my college career. It happened first semester of my sophomore year, and that’s the first semester where we really get to flourish and explore our major. In an optimistic way, it was influenced my work and has strengthened my voice as an artist and an individual, but it did take me almost a year and a half to get out of that dark place. It took and still takes consistent self-awareness and self-care; words people have told me a million times but did not register until I truly wanted to stand up and be strong for myself. It is okay to not be okay for a little bit, until it gets unhealthy. Without therapy and my own support system – my sisters, my parents, my boyfriend, my close friends, nobody can get through this alone. It is so easy to isolate yourself, but once you start to really try and rewire the way your mind works through these mental exercises, you CAN achieve these goals that feel so out of reach… and I am still a work in progress of that mentality and process.
So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Stephanie Weil Photography story. Tell us more about the business.
So my company is multimedia, mainly focused on photography – portraits, weddings, events. It’s really a modge podge of whatever kinds of pictures people need at the time. When people ask me “what kinds of photos do I take?” it’s a difficult yet simple question to ask because it really is anything and everything. I also have experience in almost the whole Adobe Creative Suite and have had jobs in the graphic design and video production realm. I think an important responsibility of an artist in this day in age is to be able to diversify your skills and portfolio, so being multimedia is both a fun challenge and a necessity to really make it out there in the agency world.
Something that does set me apart from others is my crazy interest in beauty and makeup. One of my side hustle goals is to get certified to do professional makeup after I graduate just as an added credential. I’ve also had a YouTube channel for a good amount of time with about 5K followers who I’d really love to give more attention to if I had the time.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t think luck has played a huge part in my life and business because I think we really must work for what we want. I didn’t grow up in a city, so this pace of life is exciting, but also something to adjust to. I have been so lucky to have two sisters who are established and working in the Boston area who can connect me with additional people, but I really do think people must conjure up the resources they have and take full advantage of them.
As an optimistic person, I wouldn’t want to say I had a good amount of bad luck come my way, but I believe life wouldn’t throw something at us that we truly couldn’t handle that wouldn’t better us as people for our own future.
- Website: www.stephanieweilphotography.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stephanieweilphotography/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephanieweilphotography
- Other: http://youtube.com/makeupbystephaniel