Andrea Campos, Photographer and Curator
We met Andrea Campos through social media, naturally. What drew us in was her inspiring feed, filled with vibrant people and places. We later discovered she is a visual storyteller, photographer, and a curator at The Wing San Francisco. Read about who introduced her into photography, the power of community, and how to charge your creativity in today’s feature.
Andrea, given your creative work, would you consider yourself an “artist”?
Absolutely - If I don’t personally see myself as an artist, than no one else is ever going to see me as one. So, yes I am an artist, 100%.
What were the early signs of your interest in photography? And what about visual storytelling excites you?
I really have my dad to thank for my early introduction into photography. Growing up, he always had a camera in hand. Soccer game, there was the camera. Science fair? The camera was there too. Terrible haircut that left me looking like George Washington? Oh, you bet the camera was absolutely there.
He celebrated every little thing with a click - and that’s where it started.
I didn’t realize it then, but that level of exposure to photography really impacted my personal work and has been an influencing factor in the styles of the photography I’m drawn too, which are primarily documentarian and photojournalist in nature.
What I love about that type of work, is that it is honest. It tells the story of a person, place or thing, as it is, not as we wish it were. It has the ability to make you stop and think and when done correctly it can open your mind to a completely different world and way of thinking.
In addition to doing your photography work, you are also a curator at The Wing, can you tell us how you landed that gig and what it entails?
I made a promise to myself some years ago, that I wanted every job that I had to be impact focused, so when I heard that The Wing, a female focused co-working and community space, that empowers women through community, was coming to San Francisco it seemed like the perfect fit. I applied for the role, and the rest is history.
My role there as a curator, is focused on creating experiences for our members that support their professional development, personal development and engagement with both civic and social responsibility.
One of my favorite parts of the role is how community focused it is. On any given day I’m talking to at least 5 individuals or organizations and learning about the work that they are doing in the Bay Area. I joke that the role is part researcher and part creative producer, but that’s truly what it is and I love it. It’s allowed me to meet some incredibly inspiring people and I feel very fortunate to be able to use these connections to create experiences for our members that support their development.
Being in a space by and for women must feel empowering, can you share a key learning from working with incredible women at The Wing?
It is! There is such a unique energy when you walk into The Wing, and that is largely because of our incredibly diverse and talented members. I could literally ramble on for hours about how wonderful they are, and it’s exactly that, that’s been my biggest takeaway. Community is a powerful, energizing and supportive thing - and we all need to do a better job of cultivating that in both our personal and professional lives.
Have you experienced “burn out”? If so, how do you recharge, especially creatively?
Absolutely, at the pace that the business world moves today, I think it’s hard to not experience it. For me, it started to creep into my life about a year ago and it’s been a work in progress ever since.
One thing that I’ve really worked hard on over the past year to combat burnout is creating healthy boundaries - both in my professional and personal life.
It’s so easy today to constantly be connected - but what good does that do you, your relationships, or the work that you are doing if you feel crummy and exhausted all the time.
Earlier this year, I purchased an alarm clock, and it has radically changed my outlook, and productivity in the morning. Instead of waking up to my phone and inevitably spending a stupid amount of time on Instagram. I get up, stretch and write in my journal.
The simple act of writing three pages in my journal every morning has been key to keeping my eyes open to all the inspiration around me, expressing gratitude but also being honest with myself about what’s not working.
While some people may feel recharged after being social with a bunch of friends, I find that I feel my best after having a healthy dose of ‘me time’. It may seem counterintuitive given the social nature of my job, but spending even just a few hours a week doing alone doing whatever I want, is necessary for both my creativity and productivity. I spend those hours with my camera, going on walks, painting, or sometimes watching Netflix. They are little dates with myself, and after each one I learn a little bit more.
What is the next milestone you’re looking forward to?
I’ve been working on a very special project with an organization called My Life, My Stories, a non-profit based here in the Bay Area that is focused on preserving the life legacies of seniors in the community. The project which has involved interviewing and photographing seniors is starting to wrap up, and what we’re planning on doing next is so showcase all of these rich stories through a full immersive multimedia experience. We’re still working on finding a venue in the area, but I can not wait for this to come to life, for the participants to get to experience the larger Bay Area community coming out to for them, and their stories. I already know its going to be an impactful night.