Is it well known that photography is a big part of what we do; we want to leave an imprint the first time you see anything related to PBO. From the guys rocking the merch, to the clean product shots and the group pictures, our desire is for you to say “I want to be a part of that”. From day 1, we had the luck to work with countless guys and gals that wanted to contribute their talents to our lifestyle.
Enter Megan Pennings.
She began by taking pictures of her hubby and TeamPBO member Daniel Marsola and she has continued on to shoot a big number of PBO faithful thru the years. When asked about her approach to photographing subjects she commented “I always research before a shoot, that is something that I feel has helped me work best with my subject. Understanding the product, knowing the person, and connecting with the subject has been a key aspect to capture the right image.”
Influence is something we look for, a way of expressing ourselves through a mixture of different styles. I always find myself researching and looking for distinctive works and creating mine out of that mix. Megan is no different, “There have been many artists that have influenced my style of photography. My focus has been on documenting culture especially with Los Angeles, CA. This passion was developed by the influential work artists like Harry Gamboa Jr., Sandra de La Loza, Estevan Oriol, Star Montana, and Graciela Iturbide.”
Artists are always looking for a way to express themselves through their art, in this case photography. Megan is not one to shy away from expressing herself verbally, but she also does a great job expressing herself through the lens. “I want my photos to tell a story, whatever that story may be, it is important for images to visually allow someone to connect to them, however that may be. When capturing images, I always think about the visual outcome, how will someone interpret that image and how will that image affect them emotionally, what will that individual gain from viewing that image. These are questions that help me understand who my audience would be for that image.” In our case, she presents our models with a variety of backgrounds, esthetics and colors that elevate the brand presentation.
The tools of the trade are as important as the idea, for Megan tools equals Canon, “I work with only Canon equipment, my go to camera is Canon 5D Mark IV and a 24-70mm lens. I have gotten back into 35mm film shooting, and when shooting film, I will use a Canon AE-1.”
“I am not a paid professional photographer” she says, “I have been working on developing my portfolio for my MFA in photography degree, and capturing images for family and friends.” She believes her pay comes from the experience and the other payoff comes from the amazed subjects once they see the final product. “What motivates me is being able to express my artistic vision. I enjoy capturing images that bring awareness, but also show the beauty within various subjects and connect with the viewer on an emotional level.” As an active member of Mujeres de Maiz (Women of the Corn), a Los Angeles-based activist collective, Megan brings awareness to those unaware of their mission, she has also co-curated their annual Live Art Show and Exhibition. Incredible work by an incredible woman.
For us, she’s been a gem, we pretty much keep Dan around so she can take pictures of us (LOL), but jokes aside, her photography has made our brand stand out against anyone. “Photographing PBO products has been amazing, since capturing my first image to present, I have seen the growth within the product, people, and overall company dynamics. Every image is captured with the insight of what PBO brings to their clients. Connecting with PBO has definitely helped me develop my interest in capturing the story around beard communities.”
As all you know our PBO Lifestyle is a worldwide entity, so from the Pacific coast we move over to the Southwest and introduce El Mago.
In El Paso, “El Mago” Jose Luis Cortes aka Joey is our local photographer in charge of making us look flawless. Having done some photography school, Joey starts with the basics, “A simple response is Vision and Position. You cannot always control what’s in-front of you, so you need to visualize how you want your subject/object to come out and then position yourself and your camera. At the end of day, besides lightning and composition, is all about that one shot that you can stamp your name on.”
The Magician molded his style after two unalike artists, he acquired his influence from the following, “A famous photographer who I have admired is Danny Clinch and not so famous pop punk photographer Joe Ortega”.
Self-expression is the name of the game and Joey is no different, “I think every photographer tries to tell a story with each image. Trying to capture that moment in time is what I seek to accomplish.” Which he does often, specially with me, he has capture some of my favorite on stage pictures from Austin, Texas to Los Angeles, California.
“It definitely is a lifelong dream to fully pursuit photography as my career, as it has always been my passion since I could remember. Every day I get closer to filling that goal.” For that Jose uses a variety of tools, “I have used Canon and Nikon, but as of right now I am fully #TeamNikon. I use Lightroom, for post-production, which is simple and does the job.”
Joey is beginning to make the right moves to use photography to support his family, “I get paid in $$$, weed or diapers”, he says laughing and announcing it’s a joke, “I feel my work speaks for itself.”
If you are truly lucky in life, your number 1 fan is your spouse, El Mago worked up a magic formula and get himself the perfect one, “My spouse is my biggest supporter and makes sure I am on track to my goal as a full-time photographer.”
For PBO, Joey works his magic every time, “Photographing for PBO has been an absolute blast. The team is kickass and the products are nothing less than stellar! Shooting portraits for the team and their beards is great and has shaped my photography in a huge way.”
We also have other members that truly enjoy the process of showcasing our brand to the World. We start with Eduardo, Ed is an expert of “on a whim” photography style and kills it often, “I enjoy melding the most ethereal elements of our daily lives with the badassery of PBO products, to create visual interpretations that will leave you thirsting to partake in the PBO life. The high of capturing “the shot” … a symphony of lighting, angles, color and PBO working in perfect concert…. well, its undeniable.”
From Chicago, we have Will aka Optimus, the Chiversity brand owner is a PBO OG that loves doing “DOPE SHIT”. We’ll let him explain, “There isn’t anything like loving what you do. The only other thing I can think of is believing in what you do. I get both of those things with the freshest team in the biz. When you’re surrounded by Bros that are filled with confidence, there’s nothing like it. Plain and simply put… I love taking PBO pics because it’s DOPE and I do DOPE SHIT. Love the smell, last forever. Are you with us?” Well, that’s an “Optimus” response for you.
New comers are bringing their own style to our branding. Meet Fred, he’s been doing a great job showcasing our products with his pristine shots. “I enjoy taking PBO pics because it is a blast! Nothing like relaxing after a hard day’s work to enjoy a few refreshments and put in some work for that next awesome PBO shot!” Fred has been working on photography for a bit and has his own YouTube channel. Adam is another one that enjoys both the shooting and being the model as his soulmate is the one in charge of “clicking”, Adam says “I dig modeling for PBO for a few reasons; One, is just getting out and about, finding new locations to shoot at. Being that my wife handles all the photography, its good quality time doing something we both enjoy. Sometimes it takes hundreds of shots to get just one perfect photo, but when you find it, there’s always a sense of pride and fulfillment. Two, being able to spread the word about PBO through modeling is simply a blast and look forward to the future and what the silkiest team out there has in store for the bearded community.” His lovely wife Shana has her own photography business called Shana’s Studio.
For projects, here is their information:
Megan Pennings (Los Angeles, CA)
- Instagram: @mpennings_photography
- Facebook: mpenningsphotography
- Website: mpenningsphotography.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jose Luis Cortes (El Paso, TX)
Shana Bushong (Manheim, PA)
Written and edited by Jorge “Pulpo” Montes