In 1968, a satirical movie musical came out. You know what is was called? It's okay, I'll tell you: The Producers.
In this little known film, there's a song. You know what song I'm talking about? It's okay, I'll tell you: "When You've Got It, Flaunt It."
Now, the "it" in question could mean a variety of things. In the case of this rambling analogy, we're gonna go with talent. And that's why one of our favorite monthly series is the Photographer Spotlight. It's where we get to highlight some of the amazing talent right here in Cincinnati. The people who often don't get much credit, because they're the ones stuck (edit: happily stuck) behind the lens.
So without further adieu, let us introduce you to Amy Elisabeth Spasoff.
Cincinnati Refined: What first inspired your interest in photography?
Amy Elisabeth Spasoff: When I was in junior high school, all the girls had these pocket cameras; I think they were called Click Cameras. Anyway, we all had them and would take pictures at recess and lunch. I literally was the first girl to hit puberty in my group of friends, and I, being a typical 12 year old, wanted nothing more than to look like my friends. So you can imagine the disdain I had for being in photos, but I didn’t want to not be a part of the group. So I realized that if I took all the photos, I didn’t have to be in them and I was still included. Haven’t put the camera down since.
I was convinced to make it a business by my friend Tracey Conrad. Thank you TCon:)
CR: What’s your favorite subject to shoot?
AES: I prefer to photograph individuals or products in commercial settings.
CR: What’s at the top of your photography bucket list?
AES: This is the same response I have given for over a decade: the cover of Vanity Fair.
CR: Camera of choice?
AES: Canon 7d
CR: Lens you can’t live without...
AES: Sigma 35mm art series. Worth the mortgage payment.
CR: How would you describe your photographic style (i.e. what makes an Amy Elisabeth Spasoff photo distinct from others)?
AES: I like everything to be insanely crisp. The focus on my images is always tack sharp. Proper depth perception is super important to me as well; it helps tell the proper story.
I asked my friend Dave Sanders how he would describe my style. Dave stated, “Her artistic shots are all about composition. She has such a strong, natural talent. In other words, she has a good eye. ... Some might even say she has two of them.”
CR: Fill in the blank: My coolest/ most memorable/ favorite experience while shooting was ________.
AES: No question, shooting next to Annie Leibovitz at the Hillary Clinton rally a few months back. Literally almost died because she is amazing.
The photo project I did for the rally was picked up by Buzzfeed: Why are you Voting for Hillary Clinton: A Photo Series.
CR: Any advice for aspiring photographers?
AES: I see a lot of aspiring photographers relying on editing, instead of learning how to correctly use their cameras. I cannot tell you the number of times someone has told me, “No, I never read the manual."
Read the manual, do not be afraid of making mistakes, and shoot every day.
CR: Motto to live by...
AES: I guess I would say I have two:
1. “You can’t serve the world until you serve yourself.”
2. “You have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé.”
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Digging Amy's work? Of course you are. Scroll up to the top to peruse some of her favorite images, or head directly to her website for more information.
MORE ABOUT AMY
She was born in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, but raised in Cincinnati. After studying English Lit at Miami University, Amy moved back to Cincinnati and launched her photography business close to a decade ago. While she initially worked the event circuit, she's moving toward commercial work and recently accomplished a pretty great personal goal. Her work was featured in Elle Decor from a photo shoot she did for Sundry & Vice, the local Cincinnati bar. When Amy's not busy behind the camera, she loves to get outdoors and be one with nature. This coming summer, she plans to climb Mt. Gannett. It'll be good prep for a 2018 summit of Denali in Alaska.