Woke Wednesday // Meet Florida Photographer Anesha Collins of Unashamed Imaging

Woke Wednesday // Meet Florida Photographer Anesha Collins of Unashamed Imaging

Anesha: If you have a desire to start a business (whatever that may be), go and do it! Don't let anyone hold you back, not even yourself. Sometimes people don't believe in your entrepreneurial journey because it's too scary for them to understand, and that's okay — it's not meant for them to. Sometimes the journey will even scare you, but you have to keep going. You need to wake up everyday (even the days that you don't want to) and pursue your dream wholeheartedly. You don't have to make announcements; put in the work, and then show it. Let your work speak for you, and watch how evangelists of your brand follow suit. After you show it, go to the next thing. I always say that the current project or booking you're working on is what's booking you for the next thing, so always be on point, stay focused, and enjoy the journey.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet La'Quitia Denson of Beyond the Pond Photography

Woke Wednesday // Meet La'Quitia Denson of Beyond the Pond Photography

I have always wanted to get myself involved in things that not only affect me, but others—whether it's sexual orientation, gender, race, or for some of my friends, it's religion. But I had a hard time finding my voice. As a bi Afro-Latina woman and first generation American in my family on my mother's side, I've seen and heard and felt a lot of things.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet London Photographer Becky Bailey

Woke Wednesday // Meet London Photographer Becky Bailey

We sat down with London-based photographer Becky Bailey who shared with us her love for her work and her family, her path to finding pride in her Deaf identity, and the misconceptions she has faced as a Deaf photographer working with hearing clients.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet San Francisco Planner Chanda Daniels of A Monique Affair

Woke Wednesday // Meet San Francisco Planner Chanda Daniels of A Monique Affair

Liz: Can you tell us a bit about your background? What was growing up like for you?

Chanda: I grew up being raised by my grandmother, "Granny," who had the house where all the kids went to get a hot meal! She was always cooking and entertaining. She was always at home, her number was everyone's "emergency" number, and she influenced me to graduate from high school. But little did she know, she was planting the seed for me to become an event planner…

Liz: Your grandma sounds wonderful. How was she planting the seed?

Chanda: I wanted to be like her. She found joy in making dinner and setting a fancy table with Sunday china and having everyone over. She didn't like being in the spotlight, but she loved how everyone felt after they left...I didn't know that then, but that's what I loved and love to this day!

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Washington, D.C., Photographer Kanayo Adibe

Woke Wednesday // Meet Washington, D.C., Photographer Kanayo Adibe

Kanayo: My fiancée, now wife, bought me a camera for Christmas. So she tends to buy me enabling gifts when she notices a new interest I may have. I think I have an extreme personality, so say you give me 10-pound weights, I may end up a body builder, or you buy me a bike, I may start biking 20 miles a day. All of this happened by the way. So she gave me a camera, and it ended up as a photography business.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet New York Photographer Amy Anaiz

Woke Wednesday // Meet New York Photographer Amy Anaiz

Liz: So what does your business look like today, nine years later?

Amy: Prosperous.

Liz: That's great to hear. And reassuring to all of us who are younger in our businesses.

Amy: I've had opportunities that I never would have imagined nine years ago. I moved here with 2K in my bank account with a hope and a dream. I had no apartment; I slept on my aunt's couch for months, but slowly I've made a way. Nine years later, I live in a brownstone and make enough money to support myself, my family, and then some... So that makes me proud of myself.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Atlanta Wedding Photographer Kelley Raye

Woke Wednesday // Meet Atlanta Wedding Photographer Kelley Raye

We sat down with Kelley Raye to learn more about her deep-rooted entrepreneurial spirit, how she taught herself the art of photography, and how she and her wife scrapped their wedding plans after four stressful months to elope and travel.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Jordan Maney of All the Days Event Co.

Woke Wednesday // Meet Jordan Maney of All the Days Event Co.

I was definitely sipping the Kool-Aid growing up, thinking somehow I was an exception to the rule. That changed a few years ago after a horrible experience with some police officers. It was the October before the Mike Brown shooting. I thought a middle class upbringing, pearls, and dresses were going to save me. But I learned that to some people, all I ever will be is black and a problem. I hated it. I hated the microaggressions I denied were problems. It was really an unlearning of a bunch of different things. It was being honest about how I felt as a black woman in a world that hates black women. It grew into advocating for everyone else who gets sidelined into the margins. I learned to listen and I learned to speak up and out.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Erika Swift

Woke Wednesday // Meet Erika Swift

We spoke with Erika Swift, the owner of J&E Designs and The Bridal Loft in Phoenix, Arizona, about her experience growing up in a predominantly white community and finding her voice in the wedding industry to advocate for couples of color. 

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Houston Photographer Tomayia Colvin

Woke Wednesday // Meet Houston Photographer Tomayia Colvin

Tomayia Colvin, a portrait photographer and educator in Houston, is a well-known leader and activist in our community. She is a children's book author, a doctoral student in the field of educational leadership, and she works with conferences to connect them with talented and diverse speakers and educators.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Ashley Gaffney Design Studio

Woke Wednesday // Meet Ashley Gaffney Design Studio

Liz: I love that. When you speak of challenging clients, are you challenging them in specifically creative/design ways? Or are you willing to challenge client's assumptions around race, gender, sexuality, etc.?

Ashley: Yes. I'm constantly fighting the fight to change people's perspectives about people and how we approach them. Talk to them. Have a conversation with them. I speak of "target markets" in regards to connection points. They can be purple, gay, short, whatever...if a person connects to your message, it's because it's been crafted in authenticity, and their micro-qualities don't dictate generality. And the message part is indifferent...truly it's about authentic connections, no matter the person's make-up.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Peter Endriss, Head Baker at Runner & Stone

Woke Wednesday // Meet Peter Endriss, Head Baker at Runner & Stone

Liz met Peter at the Love Union in Brooklyn. Peter is the Head Baker and co-owner of Runner & Stone, and he discusses coming out, a career shift to baking, and running a business with the value of community.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet Seattle Photographer Bri Richards

Woke Wednesday // Meet Seattle Photographer Bri Richards

Liz: Is there anything else you would like to share with folks reading who are also working to find their own place and their own identity?

Bri: I would say to others that it starts with stepping out of the denial. Don’t deny how you feel or think because it is beautiful, and it is you. Once you stop denying you can start loving, and that extends to yourself.

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Woke Wednesday // Meet New York Photographer Amber Marlow

Woke Wednesday // Meet New York Photographer Amber Marlow

Amber Marlow is a New York City wedding photographer who opens up in this interview about her challenging upbringing and the journey that followed to find ease with her racial identity and a sense of self worth.

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