Veronica Rafael, Photographer
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I’m a photo agent at Trunk Archive, a photo licensing agency that represents some of the most renowned working photographers in the industry. My job is to help our photographers promote and publish their existing work and license it to our clients at nearly every magazine in Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico/Latin America, Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia, Poland, South Africa, the UAE, a handful of U.S. magazines. I’m also the artist liaison for specific artists like Hedi Slimane and Nadav Kander, which means I’m in charge of speaking to them directly to obtain all approvals and making sure that their work is only published in high quality publications.
LONG STORY SHORT, HOW DID YOU GET TO wHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
I’ve always had a vague idea of what I’ve wanted for myself but never believed in overplanning anything. I work hard toward a goal and then give way to my intuition as much as possible once I get there. My senior year at Parsons, I took a production class taught by Jennifer Pastore (Photo Editor at Teen Vogue at the time, now Photo Editor at WSJ Magazine) that really piqued my interest in production and the publishing world. She was an amazing resource and gave me such a solid understanding of the industry and what is actually relevant. I wouldn’t have landed or succeeded at Trunk Archive without having connected with her. The connections I made at the school have been the most substantial relationships I have formed in NYC. I was fortunate to have had such amazing access to people that are actively making a difference in the photo industry at school. Networking is vital but it doesn’t have to be an inauthentic thing. If you genuinely love what you do and you’re willing to work hard for it, people want to help you, and vice versa. Outside of school, I wrote for online photography magazines, edited and curated shows, and helped with independent print projects. One thing led to another, and now I’m here!
WHAT WOULD “MAKING IT” LOOK LIKE FOR YOU IN TERMS OF YOUR CAREER?
I think that as long as I’m working with photographs, being challenged and making things, I’ll be satis ed. I’d love to continue to have a hand in as many projects as possible for as long as possible.
WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE CAREER GOAL? IF YOU COULD HAvE YOUR DREAM JOB, WHAT wOULD IT BE?
I don’t have a specific job in mind. I’m just sort of banking on the idea that if I keep moving and working as hard as I can, I’ll find it along the way. I would love to be a photo editor or transition into production. Part of why I started shooting weddings on the weekends is because I needed some sort of hands-on, creative outlet, and let’s be real, I love that sh*t! I’ve secretly also always wanted to write. It’s one of those things that I hope I can really focus on in my life at some point. I’m exploring the possibility of several different side projects in addition to my day job. I’d love to consult for emerging photographers to make sure they’re being fairly compensated for their work. One of my friends recently discovered that an image of hers was being used for limited-edition posters and sold on a very notable band’s worldwide tour. The response I got was basically like, “But I found your photo on Google and thought I could use it for free–do you want me to send you a poster?” Like, um, NO, but here’s the address where you can send the check for using my work, jerk! I’ve definitely gotten friends higher rates for their work, simply by guiding them in what to ask and how to ask for it.
DO YOU THINK THAT YOU COULD DO EVERYTHING YOU’RE DOING IF YOU WEREN’T LIVING IN BROOKLYN?
I do, but I think it’s vital I bring my New York hustle. You can’t learn that anywhere else.