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Respect the Shooter with Tabitha Turchio

Amanda Giordano

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How did you get into photography/videography? 

When I was a child, I used to take my mother’s compact film point and shoot camera when she wasn’t looking and just take photos of whatever I could capture.

Eventually she would get the film roll developed and scold me for using up film on random images. A few photos I took of the sky and some clouds, I still have today, and reminds me of the wonder I had with freezing time and preserving moments. When I was able to, anytime I had a class trip, or summer camp trip, I would always buy a disposable camera to take with me, sometimes two. I still have those film negatives. As a photographer now, Its quite a treat to be able to review photographs I took before I received any education or formal training in photography. 

What did you first use to take photos?

Any kind of film or disposable camera I could get my hands on. (hehe) My Nana’s, my mother’s, or I would just buy a disposable of my own. Usually Kodak. Sometimes I would use Polaroid cameras. When digital cameras came out, the first digital camera that I owned personally was a little Nikon Coolpix that I received as a Christmas gift from my boyfriend at the time. It was tiny and compact, and I took it with me everywhere. Its where I first fell in love with travel and street photography. 

Where did you go to school? Do you have any formal training/self taught?
When I first graduated High School, I attended Hunter College originally as a film/media studies major. I transferred to the College of Staten Island, and switched my major to Photography in 2011-2012, after I took PHOTO 101 and fell absolutely in love with the art form and science of Photography. I tried to soak in as much as I could. I will say, a formal education in art is in no way required to learn and grow as an artist. There are many things I learned in school that I am super grateful for, but also many things I taught myself as well. If I wanted to learn something, I did my research, picked up a book, or looked it up online. 

Do you have any nicknames?  How did you get that name?

"Ginger Ninja” - hahaha! Because I always wear black. =)

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Thanks for the motivation. 🙌🏻

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If you could take photos of any 3 people who would it be?

Jack Nicholson, Christian Benner, Barack Obama

If you could take photos of any 3 people that are no longer living who would they be?

Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Gia Marie Carangi 

John Lennon, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, 

If you could take photos in any 3 cities what would they be?

London, Rome, and Paris 

What is your goal when you capture photos of someone?

My goal when I am taking portraits is to capture someone just as they are. No filter, minimal to no retouching. I love candid shots and shots in the moment. Some people don’t know how to necessarily “pose”, unless they have experience modeling, so most of the time I like people to just be comfortable, be themselves, and let loose. Magic happens when you are at ease and vibing out, having a good time. 

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Friday Vibes || BK 📸 @daddydoitall

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What music do you listen to when you edit photos?

Hahaha! Usually, my go to is John Coltrane, Billie Holiday or Dizzy Gillespie. 


What's your favorite app on your phone?

Lightroom and Whiteagram. 

What is your dream as a photographer?

My dream is to make a living doing what I love to do - just shooting, and making art. I really just want to inspire people and constantly learning.   

What is some advice you would give to someone with a dream to be a photographer/ videographer?

My advice to anyone looking to be a photographer/videographer: 

1. Learn as much as you can from whoever you can and wherever you are, whether you decide to go to school or teach yourself. Just go all in!

2. As difficult as it may be, learn to critique your own work from an objective view, and don’t get emotionally attached to images when editing. 

3. Don’t get sucked into Social Media. While it is a great way to share your work like a mini online gallery - don’t get too wrapped up in it and do as much as you can in-the-flesh. Exhibit in galleries, internships, markets, events, etc. 

4. Don’t get wrapped up in TECH either. “Nikon vs. Canon”, “this lens vs. that lens,” “mirrorless vs. mirror,” "ALL of the MEGAPIXELS”. You can shoot with basically anything nowadays. In school I learned how to make a pinhole camera from a cardboard box. Expensive, luxurious equipment doesn’t make the photographer more successful, or any better than the next. 

5. My professor in school always told us. “Get the exposure/image right, in-camera, don’t rely on post production retouching.” I’m going to give the same advice. I think people rely too much on Photoshop or Lightroom to enhance their images. I love this piece of advice because it gave the class awareness and insight into their formal choices/technique when shooting and how to really get the most out of their camera. 

6. Read your manuals. 

7. Shoot RAW - especially if you plan on retouching or making prints.

8. Learn to shoot and develop film at least once in your life. It will give you a greater understanding of the science behind photography, and an appreciation for film photography on a whole other level. We are so used to digital today, which is so accessible, and in my opinion, easy at times. How lucky are we, that we can just hit PLAY and scroll through our images and review them on the spot. There is so much you can learn by shooting film. 

9. Intern intern intern. Some internships are paid, others are not. It is a great learning and networking experience without a doubt. You never know where an internship can take you. 


Where can people find you? (social media, website, etc)

Website/Portfolio: www.tabithaleeturchio.com

Instagram: @tabithaleeturchio  #tabithaleeturchio

Tumblr: www.tabithaleeturchio.tumblr.com