The multi-talented, Los Angeles-based photographer, Jeana Sohn began as a painter. A passion since she was little, painting helped develop her creative spirit but the solitary studio time began to itch her social and collaborative nature. She launched her ultra successful blog, Closet Visit, first as an excuse to venture out of the studio, hang with friends and experiment with photography, then later as a way into the fashion industry, which had always been of interest.
Sohn is now the go-to campaign photographer for many West Coast it brands and shoots dreamy imagery for Nylon Korea, Lucky Magazine, Nourished Journal and Foam Magazine, among others. We chatted with her about how she paved her own way, now moving at high speed through the industry, all the while joyfully enjoying it.
How long have you been practicing photography and when did you begin to photograph professionally?
I took some photography classes when I was in college, but I’m basically a self-taught photographer. I studied Graphic Design and Film, and then I was a painter for about 5 years. I just wasn’t happy with any of the things I was doing.
I started Closet Visit in 2010 hoping to learn photography and to create a social outlet for myself. It changed my life forever. I learned photography from shooting my Closet Visit subjects and became friends with so many great people as a result of that project. I started getting jobs professionally and I found myself enjoying being a photographer more than anything. I don’t do Closet Visit anymore, but it really helped kick start my career and enriched my life overall.
Why did you choose to work primarily in fashion?
Once in a while I shoot portraits for magazines, but fashion shoots are just more fun for me. love working with a big team of people and always enjoy collaborating with stylists and hair/ makeup artists.
Which jobs excite you the most?
I get excited about every fashion shoot I’m asked to do. Especially when I get to work with my friends!
We love your campaigns with Clare V., can you tell us a little bit about how you two began collaborating?
I met Clare when she had just started her business and we’ve been friends ever since. I once told her over dinner that I was ready to go back to work (I had just taken a maternity break) and a few days later she asked me If I was interested in shooting her line. I’ve been shooting her look books ever since.
What is your favorite part about working with Clare and her brand?
Clare’s my friend before she’s my client, so I care about the brand a lot. It’s amazing to watch the brand grow and I’m so honored to be a part of it. It’s important for me to like what I’m working with and I’m obsessed with everything she makes.
Who are some of your favorite designers right now? Why?
There are so many! I love Black Crane, Jesse Kamm, Clare Vivier, Steven Alan, Grace Lee, Sophie Buhai, Caron Callahan, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Lemaire, Sofie D’hoore, Acne, Celine and The Row because they make simple, wearable pieces that are chic.
How do you decide on shoot locations? Do you often work in/with spaces that you frequent or enjoy in your day-to-day life?
It really depends on the job, but usually I’m not that involved with location scouting. Most of my clients know where they want to shoot and, whether I like it or not, I need to roll with the situation.
What are some of your favorite local spots, if not for work than for spending personal time?
I love meeting friends at good restaurants like Republique, Sugar Fish, Joan’s on 3rd and Son of a Gun.
Do you find yourself influenced by any other people or places in a way that's evident in your work?
I try to look at other people’s work and learn from it everyday. It’s kind of silly, but Instagram makes that easy. Seeing new places is really the best way for me to get inspired; new colors, textures, differences in style and just being away from my space helps to reset my brain. I’m planning a lot of trips this year. Korea again this spring, hopefully Mexico, New Mexico and Paris!
Photos by: @jeana_sohn