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Describe your work/process.

This is an interesting question for me actually. I think it’s because I feel like my work and my process are in a very transitional phase right now. Up until this year I had pretty much done all my shoots myself. No team, No help, No thoughts other than “get a good-looking model, take a good-looking photo”. So my work and my process were pretty simple at that time. But since the beginning of 2013 I have really been trying to communicate a little more thought than I was before. By no means do I feel like I am giving any big secret commentaries through my photos but I am trying to do a more than just take photos of pretty people wearing pretty things in pretty places. I feel like my work before was just capturing moments that just happened without any thought or reason. But now I am trying to still capture organic moments, but rather than just putting a person in a place and taking their photo I am trying to give the models things to work with whether it be certain music playing, or certain clothes, or certain locations to help bring emotion and thought to the photos without me having to tell the model  how to feel. Rather allow the model to feel what they want and express what they want to express but giving them tools to express what they want to. That is the long drawn the fuck out answer, the short answer is my work is fashion & lifestyle and I dabble in the commercial and celebrity. My process is become inspired, make a mood board, contact my team, get a model, take some photos.

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What have you been up to recently (trips, projects, work)?

Recently I have been up to a lot. I have been working with a few different magazines doing different features and editorials and also doing some promotional work for artists and bands on a few major labels. I am in the process of a few really exciting movie / tv inspired editorials I am in the process of working out right now and basically just grinding it out trying to get my piece of the LA pie.

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Have any advice for other creatives/aspiring artists?

Yeah since I have moved to LA I have had a few awesome pieces of advice given to me. The one that stands out the most in my head and I am constantly saying to myself is “there are a million people trying to do the exact same thing that I am trying to do, some of them do it better some of them don’t but we are all trying to do the same thing. And the only way to get myself noticed is to work harder than everybody else.” Another piece of advice I also say to myself a lot is “Do what you love and fuck the rest.” And I think the most important piece of advice that I could give to any aspiring artist is make sure you work as much as you party and to party as much as you work because if one outweighs the other it makes its real difficult to stay motivated. Oh and lastly whatever you do don’t be a fucking social climber or a “networker” establish real friendships and work with the people you enjoy and don’t just try to use people for your benefit or put yourself through working with assholes.

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What are you currently listening to/reading/watching?

Ah this is a good question! I am all over the place lately as far as what I have been listening to. It has kind of been a cluster fuck of rock and roll, classic hardcore music, and dance electro pop. So a lot of The 1975, Grimes, The Chain Gang of 1974, American Tomahawk, Zedd, Icona Pop, Porter Robinson, Haim, Comeback Kid, Poison the Well and Bane. And as far as watching I don’t really watch tv I mostly just watch the Food Network and Sportscenter if I am actually sitting down to watch tv. But I have been watching a lot of movies lately but usually it whatever is on HBO but the main stand out in my mind would be Sister Act 2.

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Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I hope to see myself living bi-coastal in both LA and NYC. And hopefully shooting for a bunch of large corporations and doing a lot of promo photos for artists and celebrities. That is where I would love to be in five years. But with the current temperature of how many photographers there are and how many jobs there are who knows if that will even be possible in five years. But here is to hoping! Cheers!

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Where does your inspiration come from? Any emerging artists to watch out for?

What has been inspiring me the most recently is my friends and the people around me that I care about. I find so much inspiration in my friends success. And at the moment my friends are blowing up all over the place whether it be in music or tv or movies or dance. I have been fortunate enough to have found myself a lot of incredibly talented friends since I have moved to LA. And as far as artists to watch out for, I feel like I could put together a 10 page single spaced full on list of my friends who I think are either going to blow up this year or are killing it right now. But I will mention a few that I feel like people should know about now. Sara Kiesling she has always been a huge inspiration for my work especially when I first got started and I think she will be slaying the commercial scene this year since she has just started working with American Rag/Macy’s. Jack Strutz this dude pretty much taught me how to be a successful photographer in LA, I owe a lot to him and his photos are amazing. Justin Bettman this guy has talent and amazing vision and he is just a cool fucking dude. He has also been very encouraging to me in helping me keep pushing forward. Kristy Benjamin She is great! She has been styling a lot of my recent shoots she is so talented and we always have a great time on set. She is going to be huge this year. Page Ruth, amazing model. Just amazing so young and is so talented and able to do everything from edgy to soft from commercial to high fashion. She is moving to LA soon and gonna take over. Jordan Witzigreuter, he has a new record coming out this year and its going to be massive. Dude is one of my best friends in LA and I am excited to see what he does this year. Those are just a few of my friends that I am really excited to see what they do this year.

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Jared Kocka is a photographer splitting time between Minneapolis and Los Angeles.

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