I Am Inspired: Sandra Costello, Studio SMC Photography

This is part of a series of blog posts featuring people who will be attending Inspire in March of 2012. Introducing here: Sandra Costello, of Studio SMC Photography Website www.studiosmc.com Blog  http://studiosmc.blogspot.com

What are you most looking forward to in your business this year?  I have many goals for the new year but there are two I'm totally psyched to watch unfold. My business is fueled by positive energy, personal stories, and bringing happiness through photographs and kindness. My first goal is to really grow my community by partnering with other businesses and individuals. The second is to share the love. I feel as connected to the people I photograph as to the work itself and can't wait for my life to be further enriched by the stories I capture.

What are you hoping to take away from the Inspire conference? I am excited to meet and learn from other local photographers who are doing great things with their business and creating amazing art.

Describe an inspiring experience you had recently? This past fall I photographed the wedding of two women. Same-sex marriage has been legal a little over seven years in Massachusetts but for many couples and their families this is all new territory. These women moved to Massachusetts not long ago and many of their guests were traveling for their wedding. They were committed to working with vendors who they connected with and who were willing to create a very personal experience for them and their guests. I have never seen such forethought go into a wedding that wasn't directed related to pretty place cards, fancy linens or staged sets. Don't get me wrong these ladies were all about the details but that was not the real focus for them. They wanted their guests to feel the same love they felt for each other, and let me tell you, that was big! It made me treasure why I do what I do and how my work impacts people's lives. It also made me appreciate where I live and how lucky I am to be married to the love of my life.

What is the most difficult photograph you ever made? Why? One of the first people in my adult life to die was my dad's mother. I felt very close to my grandmother despite the fact that we spoke different languages. However, food is a universal language and that she spoke fluently. When she died I decided to go into the dark room and produce b/w prints of her to display at the funeral home and to give to all of my cousins. I was so glad I had captured her portrait but it was not an easy task to produce the prints after her passing. She was a very lively lady and to see her so still, so quiet, was difficult.

What is something you are good at, besides photography? I am a pretty good hugger and a very enthusiastic dancer:)

What would be your dream photography assignment? Why? I have two dream assignments: I think I might pee myself if I ever got to shoot with Annie Leibovitz, and I would love to shoot a bridal session just like the one for Vogue in Sex and the City. I don't often express my love for all things girly but that bridal session was gorgeous and over the top and I loved it!

What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? A number of years ago I photographed a friend during her pregnancy. It was fun and different for me and she was thrilled to have those photos. But what was really meaningful was when this friend actually gave birth. Holy cannolli. I have never seen such an amazing breathe of life as I did in that moment. It forever changed me.

What artists inspire you? Why? There are a couple of photographers whose work I find to be inspiring and original and at times a little unnerving. Angelica Glass out of NYC is pretty cool. Her work is edgy and sexy and intimate. I love visiting her blog and wished she would update it hourly:) Diane Arbus has always been an inspiration for her unique perspective and intimacy with various subcultures. Her work is real. I guess that is what I like about Angelica's work too. I aspire to produce work that is true and beautiful no matter who you are or what your story is.

What thought or message would you put into a fortune cookie? Life is short. Get out there and do what you are meant to do.