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Carmen Suen: Why did you decide to open Avalence Studio?
Gray Scott: For me as a photographer, it’s just almost impossible to financially keep up. A lot of times you’re scrambling to find a studio when a magazine contacts you to do a shoot. When I first started, there were several times where I couldn’t find a studio to shoot in, and I had to turn down the magazine shoot. It’s not a good thing for any photographer to turn down work because they work so hard to get their name out there and get work. I wanted to provide an affordable space for photographers to do their shoot.
CS: How is the studio an affordable option for photographers?
GS: One of the most important things about the studio is that for a $750 day rate, from 9am – 5:30pm, you get an Octabank, a stand, a power pack, sandbags, V-flats, and a wardrobe styling station with a steamer, robes, and slippers. So basically a young photographer without a lot of money can come into the studio with their model, their hair and makeup person, and their stylist, and they can produce a shoot without any extra expenses.
For one price, you’re coming in to Avalence Studio and you can produce your whole shoot. Whereas a lot of times, when I have gone to other studios, the base rate is just for you to be in the space. It could start at $1,200 to $1,500, and then every single thing costs more, whether it’s a pitcher of water or an apple box. You think you’re spending $1,000 to be there, but when you walked away, you ended up spending $1,800 for the shoot.
The idea of this space is that it’s sort of an artist workshop where everything is provided. You come, and you shoot, and you pay your day rate. That’s pretty much it. The only extra is if a photographer has specific equipment they want to rent, that is added on top. They have the option for us to rent the equipment for them; or, if they want to do it themselves, they can have the equipment delivered here.
CS: Aside from the price, what makes Avalence different from the average photo studio?
GS: One of the things that I think is very exciting is that we are in a neighborhood where we are surrounded by other artists. You are constantly bumping into artists that you know: stylists, hair and makeup people. There’s an independent record label right beside us. There’s a video production beside us. So it’s a community of creative people in the building, which is really exciting.
The studio itself is a very clean open space. But it’s not concrete and sterile. We have hardwood floors that have been painted white. There’s an industrial feel to it, but it isn’t cold. The place has a warm feeling.
CS: What are the future plans of the studio?
GS: I’d like to eventually have 10 to 15 photographers that we work with on a consistence basis, who fit into the studio space, who have the same goal as the community that we are trying to create, which is sort of a younger editorial feel. That’s how the space is.
The space is very private. We try to find photographers who may be working on books, or private work, or some of their editorial work is very sensitive and they don’t want people to know they’re working on certain things or certain campaigns. Our first client was Spin magazine. They said they loved shooting here and that they look forward to shooting here again. I have a feeling that they will be a repeated client.
Another goal is to have the studio also be a gallery space for young photographers. We have such a great space and so many white walls here that I think eventually I would like to have an addition to the Avalence website where we do private showings of young photographers’ work. In the next few months, I would like to find photographers that are doing fine art photography. We’ll do an opening ceremony for them and have 10 to 15 of their pieces presented in the space. It’s nice to have a space where you can have all your peers together and show your work. I think that’s definitely down the road for us.