The Not-So-Overnight Career Shift From Lawyer to Photographer

Luupe photographer Marsha Lebedev Bernstein’s photography-centered childhood inspired her career shift later in life.

Growing up surrounded by her father’s photography equipment and her mother’s fashion magazines, creativity played a prominent role in Marsha Lebedev Bernstein’s life. After becoming a lawyer, she briefly lost touch with her photography, but soon realized it was time for a career change.

For Lebedev Bernstein, the journey from lawyer to photographer required patience and time. Ultimately, posting her work on social media helped carve a career path that would focus her efforts on fashion.

The Luupe spoke with Lebedev Bernstein on the challenges of her career change, advice for aspiring photographers, and what she’s working on in New York City.

The Luupe in conversation with Marsha Lebedev Bernstein

Virtual Photoshoots in the Time of Social Distance

The constant demand for visual content in our time of social distancing has pushed these photographers to work in new and unconventional ways.

For many photographers, work came to a halt at the beginning of the pandemic. Unable to physically be in the same room as their subjects, they shifted their approach, producing and taking pictures remotely. With limited ways to get new content, publications and even bands are requesting photo shoots via FaceTime and Zoom.

The following photographers have inspired us over the past few months using a range of technology and methods including apps and FaceTime’s photo feature.

Their work includes brand photography, feature stories for The New York Times and The Guardian, and thoughtful personal projects meditating on social distance.

Demanding Change with High Hopes: In Conversation with Photo Editor Sara Urbaez

Photo editor Sara Urbaez discusses the importance of personal projects, making work that speaks to your values, and why there is still room for optimism in the photographic industry.

In her own words, Sara Urbaez is a photo nerd – and a very busy one at that. A photo editor and producer who worked at Departures, Wired and Airbnb, she recently founded LISTO, a new online curatorial platform devoted to dismantling colonial tendencies in photography.

Urbaez won’t sit in meetings and try to pitch BIPOC photographers to gatekeepers anymore. But she’ll never stop amplifying diverse storytellers and making sure the photography industry accurately represents the cultures and individuals in front of the lens.

Rocket Science founder Pauline Magnenat spoke with Sara to learn more about her career, and how she discovers, mentors, and champions photographers.

Pauline Magnenat in Conversation with Sara Urbaez

Honoring Family, Religious Iconography, and Personal Style

Amanda Lopez’s personal and commercial photographic storytelling is a tribute to community, tenacity, and patron saints.

Amanda Lopez’s portrait and lifestyle photography looks to her family, religious iconography, and living in LA. Her most recent personal series and zine, Guadalupe, balances warm, LA-light soaked portraits, still lifes, and reportage as an homage to the patron saint Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Brands and magazines are consistently drawn to her sensitive eye for light and gesture – she collaborates with Instagram, Luna Bar, and Xprize, and has shot for The Washington Post, VICE, The New Republic, Rolling Stone, and XXL.

The Luupe speaks with Lopez on the flux and challenge of the commercial grind and photography as a welcome distraction, savior, and personal motivator.

The Luupe in conversation with Amanda Lopez

An Innovative Look at Cocktail Photography

Detroit photographer EE Berger finishes off an uncertain summer with beautifully photographed, locally sourced custom cocktails.

Our surreal summer is almost over – where enjoying craft cocktails and nearly everything else is a socially-distanced luxury. As a result, it’s changed how many food and beverage photographers work, like Detroit-based EE Berger, whose summers are normally the busiest time of the year.

In early August, Berger shifted her focus to experiment with new creative ideas and support local businesses. She made and photographed her own “Peak Summer Cocktails” in bold, colorful still lifes with produce from Detroit’s Eastern Market and flowers from Willa Rose Floral.

“I came up with this series to practice my skills being a one-woman production team,” Berger tells The Luupe, “and to feature all the amazing flowers and produce Michigan churns out in the peak of summer.” For Berger, it’s a way to generate new ideas and support her community in uncertain times.