Celebrating National Photography Month with 5 PhotoShelter Members

Celebrating National Photography Month with 5 PhotoShelter Members

Here at PhotoShelter, every month is Photography Month. No matter what time of year it is, our passionate photo community is always getting creative at home, searching for their next gig and inspiring each other to share their photo projects. Whether it’s a personal project or on assignment, there’s no stopping these resilient image makers.

May officially marks National Photography Month, and admittedly, it crept up on us! In honor of this special moment in the calendar year, we connected with a few of the most creative photographers we know – our members – to hear about the projects they’re currently working on.

Follow us on Instagram to see specific highlights from these photographers and read on to learn about their latest work, the gear and tools that go into each of their workflows, and what photography means to them.

Cover image by Rhea Nall.

Miriam Alarcón Avila

On her latest project…

My personal work as a photographer is based on inclusion and sustainability. As a minority, I am interested in creating spaces that give a voice to minorities. I am currently working on a project in partnership with the University of Iowa with the objective of promoting black entrepreneurship and community leadership in the Iowa City area. Here are some of the black entrepreneurs and organizers that I have photographed so far.

  1. Dellyssa Edinboro, Education Coordinator at The Center for Afrofuturist Studies
  2. Coach Mark Lowe creator and CEO of Complete Player Evolution 
  3. Coach Mark Lowe playing basketball

Does PhotoShelter play a role in this project? If yes, how so? Tell me about the gear, apps and tools that play a part in your workflow.

I was fortunate to be part of the first PhotoShelter Mentorship Program, which coincided with the start of this project, so I had the opportunity to receive advice from Aundre Larrow. He helped me understand the techniques used to photograph dark skin tones, which has helped me a lot with this project. Although one of his recommendations was to avoid red walls, however in the photo of Coach Mark Lowe, I had to accept the color red since this is the color of his branding, I could not avoid it I had to embrace it. I’m so thankful for his advice as well as all the learning acquired during the mentorship program.

I’m a Nikon girl. At this moment, I’m working with a Nikon D7 100, I use a Neewer outdoor strobe, and make all my color correction with Camera Raw.

Her feelings on National Photography Month and what photography means to her…

From a very young age, I was always attracted by the light and shadows, the vivid colors, shapes, and textures. I escaped my reality by gazing at the glare of the sun bouncing off on shiny surfaces, and images reflected in the windows of  Mexico City where I grew up.

For me, photography is a medium that connects my inner being with nature, helps me express ideas and understand the human nature that surrounds me, inspires me, and allows me to inspire others.

Chris Parkes

On his latest project…

On The Farm documents the life on Poole Farm: the people and the animals they take care of. The project combines serving my community and an in-depth, long term storytelling approach.

Almost all of the photography work is undertaken voluntarily and has the dual function of telling a story but also helping the farm tell its story and engage the wider public.

Does PhotoShelter play a role in this project? If yes, how so? Tell me about the gear, apps and tools that play a part in your workflow.

To make sure the farm has access to the photos in a structured, secure and high-quality platform, PhotoShelter is essential. It means I can easily update the story and help it take shape while making sure the images are accessible for marketing, social media and press use. Being able to publish directly from Lightroom without a cumbersome export to hard drive to internet approach, as well as being able to create relevant file names and metadata is hugely helpful.

His feelings on National Photography Month and what photography means to him…

Photography is the best storytelling tool on the planet. It is phenomenally diverse in what it is able to do, and it is always asking you to learn something new and be better. It has opened doors to some of the most meaningful, beautiful and exciting experiences and connections in my life, and is an extension of my own values and my heart.

Syndi Pilar

On her latest project…

I have been photographing the streets of NYC since stay at home orders went into effect last March. I was drawn to the eerie quiet of the normally bustling city. Now that the city is opening up again I am finding myself drawn to the crowds and chaos and some return to normalcy.  

Does PhotoShelter play a role in this project? If yes, how so? Tell me about the gear, apps and tools that play a part in your workflow.

I have been using a mix of my iPhone, Sony A6300 & more recently Fuji x100v. Processing is done in Lightroom. 

Her feelings on National Photography Month and what photography means to her…

I hadn’t really been photographing much in the past years, unless I was traveling, but for some reason the pandemic jump started my creative juices. For me photography became a way to make sense of this past year and not feel so disconnected in an otherwise very isolating situation. 

Rhea Nall

On his latest project…

Cycle for Survival really isn’t a photo project.  It was an assignment to shoot the Main fundraising event for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in NYC. It just has a special meaning to me because my daughter is a nurse at the hospital and the money they raise and use has made incredible advances in treating and curing people’s cancer diagnostics.

My goal is to show the passion and energy that Cycle for Survival brings out in the riders and fundraisers who have been affected by cancer, and to create compelling images that would make someone who is not involved in the charity to support it financially.

Does PhotoShelter play a role in this project? If yes, how so? Tell me about the gear, apps and tools that play a part in your workflow.

PhotoShelter plays a role for me personally by posting my images on my website.  I use 2 Nikon bodies, a D5 and D850 along with 24-70, 70-200 Nikon lenses and a sb 900 speedlight for fill flash occasionally. I upload my images to drawbridge digital who runs the image procurement and distribution to Sloan.

His feelings on National Photography Month and what photography means to him…

To me, photography means a way to tell stories with images. I mostly shoot sports and I am trying to make the images impactful and tell the story of the game through a peak moment image, celebration or dejected image, or fan interaction image.

I was an OK high school athlete but loved sports and wanted to stay part of the games. I use my knowledge of the sports I shoot to try and put me in position to tell the story of the game through photography.

Photography has brought out my creative and curious side of how to see the world and the people in it and not just through shooting but through viewing other photographers’ work, too. To me, no words about an event or person can ever be as impactful as a great photograph.

John Frattasi

On his latest project…

Velocity is a depiction of the modern day urban landscape of New York City and its rapid development in the 21st century. Inspired by the city’s vibrant colors, stark contrasts and perpetual “in-between” moments often overlooked throughout its day to day life, the images explore the interconnection between its inhabitants and the ever-changing architecture of a city soaring into the future.

Does PhotoShelter play a role in this project? If yes, how so? Tell me about the gear, apps and tools that play a part in your workflow.

My approach to Velocity combines both the spontaneity of street photography and structure of architectural photography. 

The project was captured primarily on the Sony A7R camera system with G Master 16-35mm and 24-70mm zoom lenses and edited using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. 

His feelings on National Photography Month and what photography means to him…

Photography has been a gateway for me to both explore the world around me and profoundly connect with people and places through my own perspective.


We want to hear from you! Tell us about a personal project you’ve been working on. Tag us (@photoshelter) on Instagram and Twitter so we can see your work. Let’s inspire one another!

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This article was written by

PhotoShelter's Social Media Lead

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