Respect The Shooter: Aviva Klein

Aviva Klein has had the opportunity to photograph icons we all look up to. I could say Prince, and stop there knowing that it speaks volumes about her skill level. Her clientele list has included the likes of Beyoncé, Nike, Mass Appeal, The Source, Puma, so on and so forth. Aviva has had the privilege of turning her passion into her day job. From behind that camera lens she’s been able to tap into her genius level talent and hone her skills to become a reputable eye for capturing moments.


During an interview about the birth and growth of her career, she found herself reminiscing about the first time she even touched a camera.

“My boyfriend in college gave me my first camera. From the moment I made my first picture I knew that I had a special connection to the camera. It wasn’t until I was really dissatisfied with my job at the time that I realized photography was what I was meant to do.”

She enjoyed it as a hobby, but it didn’t cross her mind that she could do it for a living until she graduated. Aviva was working on the marketing side of the music industry. In time, the corporate angle of the industry began to give Aviva a consuming sense of frustration. So she decided to redirect her professional goals, a decision that wasn’t as difficult as one may think. It was living with that decision that challenged Aviva in more ways than one.

“I had to come up with ways to make a living while I made time to learn how to make pictures. Leaving a well paying job with benefits and a 401k for waitressing really challenged me in many ways. It forced me to learn about a side of myself that I didn’t know existed. I learned how impatient I was. That got in the way a lot in the beginning because I would envision my work to be really beautiful, but it seemed like learning how to make images beautiful couldn’t come fast enough. When you’re ‘in it’ sometimes it’s hard to see how much you’ve learned, or how far you’ve come.”

For a period of time Aviva left the hustle and bustle of New York for Puerto Rico to develop her skills. Returning to the city that raised her proved to be a daunting task in and of itself. The task of figuring out how to get from point A to point B is one that drives anyone crazy during the beginning of a career. It took her years to figure it out, but the result was picture perfect. No pun intended.

Aviva has gone on to build a career tailor made for her. She’s able to set her own schedule and work with whom she chooses. In our interview we spoke about standout clients, exhibition experiences, and advice for up and comers in this edition of Movers & Shakers.

DT: Do any of your client experiences standout?

AK: Working with Beyoncé is definitely a standout experience. I’ve worked with many people throughout the years, some celebrities some not. She is the most proficient person I’ve ever worked with. She’s a Master. Truly inspiring to watch.

DT: What is your creative process?

AK: For pre-production first comes the subject. Who is it? What visuals come to mind? How does that person make me feel? What do they inspire in me? I then start to pull references based on the ideas that I see in my mind’s eye. This is how I communicate my ideas to my client and the team I’m collaborating with. On set I don’t really have a process, my only goal is to connect with my subject so that they feel comfortable enough to be authentic.

DT: Can you describe your exhibition experiences?

AK: I love exhibiting work. I love to be able to give a different type of experience to the viewer. You can show work online but there is nothing like seeing it in person, for me too. I look forward to more of it.

DT: What’s it like working with huge clients like Beyoncé, Prince, Pepsi, etc.? Is your approach different depending on what or who you are shooting?

AK: Well for those 3 specific clients I shoot reportage. So my approach is always the same. Watch for the light. Commercial shoots require a lot of pre-production.

DT: What is your overall goal for your career?

AK: My overall goal is to keep making pictures that tell a story. Images that touch, move, and inspire people around the world.

DT: Any words of advice for people searching for fulfillment like you were?

AK: All I can say is make sure you ground yourself with a good support system and reach out to them, frequently. Everyone is searching for fulfillment; being vulnerable enough to share your experience with others will strengthen you.



Feature Image Photo Credit: Alex Thebez

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