Soraya Matos
Photographer

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Soraya Matos

PHOTOGRAPHER

San Francisco, CA

www.sorayamatos.com
instagram @shotbysoraya

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am a travel and lifestyle photojournalist based in San Francisco — but always on the go.

 

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

About 3 years ago I packed up my car and drove from NY to SF, not knowing a single person, and having never visited. I felt a gravitational pull towards the west coast and decided to trust that feeling, and its guided me to get to where I am now. Coffee is my lifeline. And I also owe it all to the hustle. It never ends, but it’s all worth it. 
 

FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?

The industry can be cutthroat competitive and I feel that a lot of other creatives often lack confidence in themselves and their work. I'm guilty of this as well... but you have to fake it until you make it. Carrying yourself as an artist who is proud of your own work is one of the most honorable qualities and allows your clients to feel secured and trust your creative process. 

 

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WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

I am planning a 5-week trip to Tanzania to produce a visual advocacy project on the Tanzanian albinism community. In a country with such a large albinism population, ironically, there is little awareness on the fact that albinism is a genetic condition. This lack of education has created various misconceptions and the albinism population has existed under the severe threat of abuse, abductions, ritual killings, and over the years the situation has severely worsened. 

 

WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS? 

 My style is constantly evolving. I’m really drawn to color, playful light, and finding unexplored and seldom mentioned. 
 

WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?

I wish I had more headspace to shoot freely and not stress on having my work fit what’s “in”. If there’s a peach on my counter table and the golden hour light hits it perfectly so much that I feel compelled to shoot it, I shouldn’t question myself… The industry is constantly in flux and I often feel the pressure to adapt. It becomes difficult to fuel my creative side when I also need to complete tasks that are administrative and necessary when running and developing a business. 

 

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WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

To be honest, it's how to progress to the next level. This career path is far from linear and everyone has their own way of making it - which can be both a blessing and a curse. Figuring out “your way” while being unique in your journey is challenging - especially when you are constantly trying to plan out your next step. 

 

IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?

I would love if someone could organize my entire image library! I didn’t start with a thorough editing workflow so now it’s all over the place, all over my drives... I’ve been putting off forever!

 

LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?

If I had a time machine, I’d go back in time and do the whole school thing a little differently. I really wanted to take a gap year but was advised against it and instead put my deposit to attend to a tiny liberal arts college. I didn’t even know art school was an option! Though my education exposed me to new perspectives, I’ve learned SO much more being hands on in the field and working in industry. 
 

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IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?

Projects that challenge me, move me, and that make me feel about doing them! I love producing images and storytelling a brand’s mission -- I truly believe that we all need to do our part and be socially responsible and support causes/companies that give back. 
 

WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

Every job is different - depends on what is demanded of me, the complexity of the job, crew, licensing, etc. 
 

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.

I’m interested in capturing the human condition - in all aspects. My dream job would be working as a documentary photographer and creating impactful advocacy work for Nat Geo, UN, NY Times, Unicef - put me in a rural village in the middle of no-where with no-electricity and modern technology, and I am my happiest. Stripping away all of the distractions allows me to fully be present in my work and produce the best possible imagery. 
 

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WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE? 

Every job is different - depends on what is demanded of me, the complexity of the job, crew, licensing, etc. 
 

HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

I crave projects that are out of the norm, or that require me to think outside of myself- present a project that is fulfilling, motivating, and fun… you’ve won my heart. 
 

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

Push yourself always. If you’re not scared, you’re doing something wrong.

 


This member profile was originally published in June 2017.