This weeks Nails of New York spotlights freelance photographer and growing director, Bekka Gunther. Understanding posing, compelling composition, and the art of visual storytelling through her years of modeling, Bekka pivoted to behind the lens after moving from Los Angeles to New York. An idea girl at heart, you can see the wheels in her head spinning even in the midst of conversation. And her warm demeanor and charisma makes her an instant comfort and friend. Read more to learn about how she loves bolder nail designs, maintains her unique viewpoint, and celebrates the strength of women.
Why do you paint your nails?
Not only do I enjoy the actual process of getting my nails done, it helps add an extra oomph when I go to meetings. I pride myself on a strong, assertive handshake–why shouldn't my nails speak just as loudly for that important first impression?
Do you have a go-to nail palette?
I tend to dress in neutrals with masculine influences, while always paying homage to my feminine form. In terms of my nails, I usually allow myself to go a bit crazy with bright colors, gold foils, etc. However, during my last manicure at Paintbox, I asked for something more neutral and architectural. I was feeling like I needed to create a put-together and chic vibe for my week of upcoming meetings with big potential clients.
Tell us about the transition from modeling to being a photographer?
It was an interesting one, but so necessary! I think after four years of modeling, I had reached the point where I wanted to contribute more to the conversations happening in the fashion world around me. I, too, had something to say, messages to convey, and creative inspiration to nurture. So, I picked up a camera and spent hours on YouTube learning how to edit. I'm completely self-taught, and although I'm sure my technique isn't what they may teach in school, it's all mine. And I earned where I am today with (quite literally) blood, sweat, and tears.
What has been the most challenging and most rewarding part of your job?
The most challenging part of what I do is keeping my eye on my own work, zeroing in on my point of view, and staying true to all that I create. There are so many amazing artists around me, especially in New York and there's the danger of focusing too much on what others are creating. And yet what they're saying can make you lose your own person voice. I want my work to speak loudly. To be bold and fearless. To celebrate the strength and versatility of women. To reach into the moments that make this universe a joyful, beautiful place and help others to recognize that, too. And with that being said, the most rewarding part of what I do is finding that pulse and capturing it.
Who do you typically shoot for?
I've shot for some big clients, which are always great jobs, but honestly my favorite clients are the smaller brands with strong, undiluted voices who like taking risks and who aren't afraid to do something different or even controversial. I moved from NY to LA last June so my client base in NY is still a small, select group of people, but I'm working on some fun projects that I hope will widen that group and attract attention from some of the people I'd love to work with.
What does a day-in-the-life look like for you?
I work from home or from a cafe unless I'm shooting. I usually start my day with some espresso, then jump to emails and make my to-do list for the day. I'm either creating concepts or producing shoots. 2-3 days of the week consist of meetings with brands, stylists, showrooms, agencies, etc. I try to shoot at least 1-2 times per week as well, if time and weather allows. I'm still sharpening my voice as a creative and in order to pinpoint it, I need to shoot as much as possible.
When do you get your best ideas?
Honestly, anytime. I have a highly imaginative mind and my iPhone notepad is full with ideas that I put down as soon as inspiration hits. The latest moments that inspired me were a concert and reading "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov, thinking about a dear friend of mine's personality and a dream I had. My eyes are constantly seeing, and my heart observes.