interview with stacey vukelj

I’m not quite sure how it’s possible but it’s already March and that means there’s a new CMpro of the Month to introduce you too, Stacey Vukelj!  Stacey may be a New York lawyer but she also has a passion for street photography.  She’s crazy talented at her passion and we are so pleased to have her here today sharing her thoughts with us and giving us a taste of what’s to come!

march cmpro of the month | stacey vukelj

by Megan Dill

interview with stacey vukelj photo

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Also, what first piqued your interest in photography?

Let’s see. I live in New York with my husband, our (usually) wonderful three-year-old son and our cat, who does not think our son is wonderful in the least. My husband and I met in law school and have lived in the city for almost ten years now. I used to be a structured finance attorney but now work part time in more of a practice support role at my firm. I am extremely close to my family – we moved a fair amount over the years and I think that those shared experiences have contributed to us being particularly close-knit as adults. We are all a little nomadic at heart and love to travel. We also have Western roots. My parents are both from Wyoming and we would visit my grandparents every summer – when New York feels overwhelming I like to picture myself there. The space and beauty is good for the soul.

interview with stacey vukelj photo

I have always loved taking pictures. My first camera was a little hot pink number that took those pre-loaded film cartridges – maybe a Kodak? My parents gave it to me to take on my third grade field trip to Springfield, IL, birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. When I was in junior high we started traveling more and then moved overseas. I became the family historian and put together albums of all the photos I took. This continued into my adult life, though the albums stopped once I got a digital camera.

Despite my love for photographs, somehow it never occurred to me to actually try and learn more about photography. But in the fall of 2011, one of my best friends pointed me to an online class aimed at taking better pictures of your kids. There was a lesson on manual shooting and from the moment I borrowed my sister’s DLSR to give it a try, I was hooked. I took my first CM class in January 2012 and haven’t looked back.

interview with stacey vukelj photo

You’re a busy lawyer with an adorable son who makes frequent appearances in your work. How do you find the time to continue developing your skills as a photographer?

The answer to that lies in the disastrous state of my apartment. In all seriousness, I think it is a combination of practicing whenever I can (my camera is with me 95% of the time), letting certain things slide and being married to someone who is supportive of my investment in this personal project, both financially and from a time-commitment standpoint. Working part time is also a big piece of the puzzle.

interview with stacey vukelj photo

You’re relatively new to photography. What do you attribute your remarkable artistic and technical growth to?

I’ve been at this for a little over a year now. I would attribute most of my growth to a combination of stubbornness and practice. At least as far as the technical side goes. I knew that there was a way to make my photographs look like what I was seeing in my mind’s eye so I did (and continue to do) everything in my power to learn how to make those visions come to life. As to the rest, I have just tried to remain true to my own aesthetic and trust that if I think something is beautiful, others will too.

interview with stacey vukelj photo

You love to travel, as seen through your shares on the CMpro Daily Project. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do there?

My current top three destinations, in no particular order, are Turkey (Istanbul in particular), Petra in Jordan and Patagonia. We aren’t really beach people, so our trips involve a lot of wandering and hiking and picture-taking, of course. Also, my parents live in the Philippines, so I am also excited to head back to Asia in the next year or so and do a little photography while I’m there. We hope to get out West again sometime soon too…I could go on forever.

interview with stacey vukelj photo

With your home base in New York City, you oftentimes venture out into the hustle and bustle to engage in street photography. Please share your best advice for the novice street photographer.

In a nutshell, be aware, be confident, be creative, be safe and have fun. I cover a lot of this in more detail in my upcoming breakout but you can also check out a blog post I wrote last year for some initial ideas: http://www.clickinmoms.com/blog/taking-it-to-the-streets-street-photography-tips/

When taking photos on the streets, what is your preferred gear?

Unless I have a specific project in mind, I usually pop a wide-angle lens on the camera and head out the door. Currently, I am getting a lot of mileage out of my 24mm.

How would you describe your photographic style?

I do not have a succinct answer to this question. I consider myself to be primarily a street photographer, but I don’t think my work necessarily has the grit that some people associate with this genre. My images tend to be dynamic and almost tactile, with a sense of motion or texture, but often with softer colors or processing. A lot of my work crosses over into more of a fine art category rather than the documentary side of things that people often expect from street photography. Many of the images in the “weather” and “windows” projects I am working on are good examples of this. My “small boy/big city” series can more concretely be described as urban portraiture.

interview with stacey vukelj photo

What is the best piece of advice that you’ve received along your photography journey?

Shoot what you love.

Where do you find the greatest inspiration for your work?

For the most part, I am simply inspired by life in New York City. There is so much going on here. When I need an extra jolt, there’s nothing like a trip to one of the art museums or even just perusing photography or art books at the bookstore.

interview with stacey vukelj photo

Do you have a “most embarrassing” photography moment that you would be willing to share?

Not so much an embarrassing moment, but the looks I get when I’m out getting soaked in the rain or sitting on a grubby street corner to get a shot can be pretty priceless.

interview with stacey vukelj photo

What is your current favorite photograph?

interview with stacey vukelj photo

You’re currently putting together a breakout session for Clickin Moms. Would you like to provide a teaser on the topic you’ll be covering?

The breakout is called “Street Smarts: An Introduction to Street Photography.” It covers a whole host of topics – everything from use of creative settings to practical metering tips to safety considerations to photographing strangers. It offers a window into how I shoot and ideas for creating your own approach to street photography. I hope you’ll check it out, it was a lot of fun to put together.

interview with stacey vukelj photo

Thank you Stacey for the fantastic interview!  Make sure you head over to Stacey’s website, blog, and facebook to view the rest of her gorgeous work.  If you have a question for Stacey you can ask in the comments below or visit her ‘ask a pro’ thread within the photography forum.

interview with stacey vukelj photo

51 Comments

  • Adele Humphries says:

    Congratulations Stacey! I love this interview, your work and you, my friend!

  • Nancy says:

    Wow. I know we all have different things that appeal to us, etc., but your images truly speak to me. I love them and feel inspired by them. They make me want to reach out and try something new and tricky in for myself. I got my first DSLR about three years ago, and I can definitely see that your learning curve has been much much steeper than my own. With six small kids and a husband who works long hours, taking classes has seemed impossible so I have very slowly learned by reading things online here and there. I wish I could just borrow you face to face for a few hours and have you show me all you know first hand! I know we all have our own journeys, but it would be nice!

    Anyway, since I can’t pick your brain and watch you work, I will simply ask about your editing. I think I have come a long way in learning technical things about my camera, but I am very very week in editing as the little time I have to give to photography always leans towards shooting rather than editing.

    I would love so much to know what you use, if you have a main workflow for editing most of your pics, if you rely on presets or actions, etc. Any specefic info you can tell me would mean a lot!

    • Hi Nancy, thank you so much! I do all of my editing in Lightroom and I don’t use presets. I usually pick just one or two images from a given day and edit them however I feel looks best. I realize that’s not particularly useful but I don’t really have a specific work flow to share. I will be doing some editing of participants’ images during the breakout on a video for download if that would be of interest to you. Thank you again!

  • Krista Sodt says:

    Stacey, your favorite shot! It is my (okay, one of my) favorites too! You inspire me every time I see your determination and hard work leading to such an amazing body of work. You know I count myself as your first official fan/groupie (study along in RYC101, I spotted that talent!) and I loved learning more about you! I’m really looking forward to the breakout coming out!! Congrats!

  • Kim says:

    Great interview! You know I’m a huge fan and I loved getting a glimpse into your life :)

  • What a fantastic interview! I loved reading about you Stacey! The lighting shot is so amazing!

  • colie says:

    Congrats Stacey!

    “I would attribute most of my growth to a combination of stubbornness and practice.”

    ::giggle:: ditto

    I cannot wait for your breakout!!!

  • Jessica R says:

    Fantasic Stacey <3 Loved seeing all of these images togehter in one spot. I've said it before and will say it again, don't ever leave NYC! We need more images :)

  • Wonderful interview and beautiful work! I cannot wait to purchase your breakout. I am so glad to have met you in Shooting 101 and to have followed along on your journey. You are a true friend and inspiration to us all!

  • Jo Bryan says:

    Fantastic interview Stacey and you know I LOVE your work! I feel the urge to get into the city to shoot more this year so can’t wait for your breakout! Congrats ;))

  • Erica Collins says:

    Great interview, Stacey!! I have loved watching your growth over the last year. You are an amazing and talented lady!!

  • Kristen says:

    I loved reading this and seeing your work, Stacey! Your images are beautiful and I love your style! I can’t wait for your breakout!!

  • alana says:

    congrats Stacey! i love your street photography/fine art-cross style! beautiful images. thanks for this great interview.

  • Nina says:

    Congrats on CMPro of the month, Stacey! <3

  • Anne Mustienes says:

    Congrats Stacey…great interview, great photos, and great person.

  • Jill says:

    SO inspiring, Stacey!!!!

  • Katherine says:

    So exciting!!!

  • Lisa R says:

    Fabulous interview Stacey!

  • Justine K says:

    Loved the interview my fabulous friend!! Cant wait for your breakout!!!

  • Lucy K. says:

    Congrats, Stacey! Your work is amazing and very inspiring! I can’t wait to learn more about street photography through your BO!

  • Kelly says:

    Congrats, Stacey! Amazing work – love the interview! Proud to know you and see your growth over the past year.

  • Jennifer says:

    lovely!!

    I have always been a bit in love with street photography – but I am also introverted by nature so it is intimidating to me as well. I’d love to take the breakout session! I signed up for the updates on when I can sign up. Thanks for the interview!

  • Heather P says:

    So proud of you Stacey!!! I knew I would be seeing a session like this from you. I have always been a big fan of your work ever since taking shooting 101 with you. I am so excited about all your success!!! :):)

  • Tracy says:

    YAY STACEY! CONGRATS!! LOVED the interview YOU ROCK!

  • Kathleen Collins says:

    I love your work. Can’t wait for your breakout!

  • Mikki says:

    Wonderful interview Stacey! Love your view of the world and can’t wait for your breakout!

  • parikha says:

    Fantastic interview, Stacey – so glad to see you featured here, and I loved learning more about you!!

  • Adeena says:

    Congrats on Pro of the month! So fun to read this. You know I’m a huge fan. :)

  • rachel says:

    Your work is utterly captivating! Thanks for sharing it with us. You are amazingly talented. WOW!

  • Camille says:

    I love your work. Please let me know if youre coming to the Philippines. I am based in Manila.

  • AngieO says:

    I’m really looking forward to your breakout session!

  • Kara K. says:

    I love feeling inspired and you’ve done just that. Thank you.

    So looking forward to your breakout! xoxo

  • Sarah Vaughn says:

    Yayyyyy! So excited for your breakout. You know I’m a huge fan. <3

  • Anne says:

    Your work is so inspiring, Stacey. I can’t wait for this breakout!!

  • Kathryn says:

    Congratulations Stacey!!! Loved the interview and your work is stunning :)

  • Wow Stacey I thought I knew a lot of your work but so many of these are new to me and I love them so much!! I can’t wait for your breakout! You are so talented!

  • Thank you all so much! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your kind words.

  • Kristin Dokoza says:

    Great interview Stacey! I became a big fan of your street photography in EOD :) Love seeing your images.

  • Love these images! I want to do more “street” work and this post has given me new inspiration to get out and try new things!

  • heidi says:

    I love your work! Great interview!

  • Awesome interview, Stacey!! I can’t wait to dive into your breakout…your street photography is so incredible!

  • Lacey says:

    Congratulations, Stacey! I cannot believe that you have only been at this for just over a year! That shows you have serious underlying talent and I’m so inspired by you! And, like I’ve told you before … I’m living vicariously through you in your New York life! :)

  • Danielle Barnett says:

    I cannot wait for your breakout session, Stacey!! Your work is so inspiring!

  • I just can’t wait for your breakout, Stacey!! I know I will be tremedously inspired <3

  • Sinead says:

    What a great interview! You really are an inspiration and so talented. That photo is also one of my favourites of yours – not only is it a stunning photo, but it also reminds me of such a great day. Keep up the good work – I love seeing what you come up with! Sx

  • christina says:

    Stacey, I was both drawn to and blown away by your work very early on, and am so excited and proud of you, friend! I remember that 2nd photo as your very first DP post, right? Promise I’m not a stalker ;)

  • Danika says:

    Great interview Stacey!!! I’ve always been a big fan, but I’ll take this opportunity to say again that your work is wonderful and inspiring!! :)

  • celestejones says:

    this is going to be awesome! i just know it!

  • Congratulations, Stacey!!! Your images have always resonated with me deeply. Your lightning shot is still one of my favorites. I know your BO will be a huge success!!! And way to go on your rocket ride of learning, wow. Very impressive, chica!

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