We had the good fortune of connecting with Valeria Sarto and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Valeria, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance is probably one of the most important things to me. I think we get so stuck in this work work work, capitalistic mentality here in the US that in the end drains us.
I was working a 9-6 at an agency before focusing on Fashionability Collective full time, and I saw how much it affected my out of work relationships. I had no work life balance and saw my mental health depreciate.
I found that working for myself and focusing on projects I was really passionate about worked better for me. I was able to decide realistic deadlines for myself, build valuable relationships with my clients and build a healthy relationship with myself, my friends and my family.
While there’s always something positive to take from any experience, having a balance allowed me to be inspired by day-to-day life experiences and attribute that to my professional work. I think balance is key in all aspects of life.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
From the moment I picked up a film camera, I knew it was something I couldn’t put down. I loved street photography and the iconic photographers who captured moments that are eternal now. In everything I create, I’m inspired by the prolific works I studied and hope to capture just that. I like the spontaneity of street photography and I think that’s really trained my eye to see. I don’t want to capture perfection, I want to capture authenticity.
One of the most popular feedback I receive from clients, friends, family and people I photograph is that I’ve captured their favorite photo of themselves because of how I direct them into a natural pose and that they felt so comfortable behind my lens, even when I made them do weird things. That’s definitely what I’m most proud of in my work.
I always felt like I was a good photographer, that I had something there, even though looking back I wasn’t that good… although I still have some select photographs I love. It’s a balance! You have to love your work and also hate it to be better. To grow in my work, I continued to practice it ~ in my day to day, in courses, in extracurriculars in college. I got involved in anything photography related and just created. That was the easy part, but I definitely felt like people judged my work or didn’t think I was up to par. That kept me going though. It kept me critiquing my work and constantly trying to find ways to elevate my work.
If there was something I’d want the world to know, is that I work my ass off lol. Nothing just fell on my lap, even when some projects do. I am full of grit, my mind almost 100% consistently thinking of ways to grow as a creative and especially to blend that into my professional work. That’s how I manifest.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oooohlalalalaaa, I love hosting! This might be a clusterfuck of places but my favorite spots in Miami are: The Standard (obviously), La Natural for the best white pizza with scallions and szechuan pepper (try it and thank me later), Lagniappe for wine nights, definitely hit the art museums (PAMM, ICA, Rubell, The Bass), Vizcaya Museums and Gardens, The Sylvester for a drank and cool energy, Fly Boutique for vintage, thrift shopping at Flamingo Plaza, Sweat Records for the vinyl lovers, Primaried for the interior lover, A La Folie on Española Way for crepes and coffee, Sushi Garage for happy hour, All Day Cafe, Simonett and GANNI at the MDD and the Lincoln Road Antique Market. We’d also definitely ride bikes around Art Deco and hit the beach. I’m actually in the works of creating some travel guides for All Call so keep an eye out for that 🙂
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
For my business drive: As cliche as it is, I owe it to my parents. They instilled in me so many values that allow me to think big, to think strategically and realistically. They’re the tough love that spin my head round and round, but ultimately made me think for myself and be independent.
For my dreams: My parents gave me the work ethic and drive that pushes me everyday, but I have to shoutout my sister, boyfriend and friends for encouraging and believing in me to go with my gut even when it’s risky. Especially to let go of the old-fashioned conventions that my parents may still hold and follow what would make me happiest.
For showing me that I can do it on my own: mega shoutout to Eva Hynes from Boston for being my first client, a great creative friend and for showing me, without even showing me, that I could work as a photographer on my own.
For showing me that I had potential: Ms. Junquera for being my first photography teacher that encouraged me to continue shooting. For teaching me film photography and opening my eyes to the world of photography, and giving me honest critiques that made me a better photographer (I can say this about my other photography professors as well).