What does it take to turn a passion into a career? For Steve Berrebi, it was the desire to capture the moment and his brother’s camera equipment that got him on his way. A Hoboken resident and area photographer for the last six years, he has taken pictures of models, athletes and celebrities. His talent very quickly propelled his career, so much so that he recently opened his own studio in the Neumann Leather Building. As spectacular as his portraits are – take a look through hMAG to see some of his work! – he also likes to take landscapes. He describes success as the ability to earn a living doing what you love to do.
DS: Why Hoboken?
SB: I left Arizona after college and I had friends who lived here at the time. It was close to the city.
DS: When you first moved here, what were your goals? Did you have a grand plan in mind?
SB: I wanted to pursue an unknown career that involved freedom. Whatever involved freedom.
DS: What made you pick up the camera?
SB: It felt natural. There were so many things I wanted to capture. There were many moments where I felt like I needed a camera to capture the moment.
DS: What did you first start taking pictures of?
SB: Landscapes, because they are attractive to the eye.
DS: When you are photographing a landscape, how long does it take you to get the shot?
SB: Five to ten minutes, not too long if it’s the right time of the day.
DS: What is your favorite thing to photograph?
SB: Interesting people. I also like road trips, beaches and mountains.
DS: When you get an assignment, let’s say it’s a model shoot. How do you prepare?
SB: If it’s a typical model shoot- I will look into different backdrops or an interesting wall – like any wall that is weathered or painted an interesting color. There is a way to make a photograph symmetrical. It’s lining up the subject symmetrically to an inconsistent background.
DS: What does that give your pictures?
SB: It gives the picture more texture. It’s a lot more interesting than just a solid white background.
DS: You took some shots at LA Boxing that were great. If you were to explain to a lay person about taking a good shot, would you say that lighting is an important component?
SB: Yes, lighting is everything! Photography is the manipulation of light. It’s the temperature of light, the availability of light, how you use it, aim it, balance it, hide it. With a strobe, you can capture more movement. Different lighting gives you different moods.
DS: Was there a watershed moment growing up, where the light struck you and stayed in your unconscious?
SB: I always liked Arizona sunsets because there is so much dust in the air. But there wasn’t any one moment I said I wanted to go into photography.
DS: What is your dream assignment?
SB: It doesn’t matter what it is as long as I get to travel somewhere.
First published January 2013. Self portrait by Steve Berrebi. For more information, visit: www.stevenberrebi.com.