We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsea Mudlo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chelsea, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
My entire career has started and pivoted with risk. An internal gamble of “should I do this?” between my head and my heart, and usually 9/10 the heart wins. I wouldn’t be where I am today without literally jumping into situations. It’s also a matter of being at the right place at the right time and a combination of good character. I am always one invitation away from my next experience. An invitation to sit in, to learn, to observe, to help, to volunteer, or to jump right in and shoot. I would say my career started in the genre of documentary photography in the music and wedding industry and has evolved from there. At 17, I started documenting sound checks at the iconic House of Blues Sunset Blvd before doors opened and soon became Fall Out Boy and Blink 182’s photographer around LA. In college, a colleague grabbed me onstage at an E-40 concert when they noticed the DSLR around my neck. Shortly after documenting E-40, I went on to photograph Bay Area hyphy rap and Grammy Award winning artists on stage ever since. From the names of Too $hort, Sage the Gemini, Problem, Vic Mensa, Tame Impala, Jason Mraz, Ziggy Marley, Miguel, J Cole and on. Opportunities then shifted into the fashion industry and I found myself front and center capturing the coveted September NYFW runways and commercial shoots for big international brands. In the world of surfing, I caught the moment the first quadriplegic surfer won a World Adaptive Surfing Championship. Other days I find myself filming a rhinoplasty for Beverly Hills Rodeo plastic surgeons. Moral of the story, say “yes” to everything, take the flight, take a ride and risk it all. Life is so short.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always felt a calling to be a photojournalist for moments in history. Whether it is a large scale documentation for society and culture or symbolic and small scale for an individual . However, I have a second love and calling for portraiture and editorial photography; a mix of the works of Annie Leibovitz and Steve McCurry. A true photographer will tell you it’s not about the equipment you carry or the latest gadgets; it all comes down to light, glass (lenses) and how you capture it. For me, “it” is humanity and it truly inspires me. I will never be a great landscape photographer or digital mixed media artist. I’m unable to capture full beauty and authenticity without a real human or subject. There is no one category that “fits all” for my brand or artistry. It is a culmination of influence and inspiration from living in California, a blend of my mixed heritage and experiences in life. My brand seeks to inspire; for the dreamers, the seekers, artists, travelers, entrepreneurs, and designers. Every image is filled with life, paints a picture of its surrounding, the current moment and defies the odds of your existence. My goal with every subject is to empower them and raise their frequency to their highest potential. I truly believe people are drawn to my artistic process for the experience and to be empowered by themselves once again or for the very first time. I take a detailed approach to my service down to every hairstyle, styling, makeup, set design and “your message” prior to every shoot.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Years ago in university, I was fortunate enough to be challenged and mentored by documentary and National Geographic photographers Ed Kashi, Ken Light, Darcy Padilla and the late David Pace. In 2013, my photography shifted immensely because of these individuals. My friends, family and mentors continually challenge me to push through, affirm my abilities and keep me moving. Without all of them I would not have made it this far in my career.
all images are @cmudlophotography/photographer’s own work