Thank you Vollage Dallas for this interview:
Thanks for sharing your story with us Fujiko. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in Mexico City and was raised in by a single mother in a strong feminist household. When I was 17, I applied for my first full-time job as a receptionist in order to save up to pay for my college tuition. Once in college, I started off as an Economics major, but the artistic part in me was probing me to try something that would activate my creative side, so I switched to a degree in Marketing. I graduated from college at 22 and life happened: I was married within a year and gave birth to my first daughter four years later.
After working at the marketing department of “Colgate” and other advertising agencies, at the age of 27, I became a senior executive in one of the most important banks in Mexico City. This was in the 1980s when it was uncommon for women to succeed in a man’s world. Soon after, my husband was offered a job in a different state, Chihuahua, Mexico. I made the decision to quit my job to be with my family, which is where my second daughter was born. We were living our best life when we had to move again, and this time to the United States. We lived in Los Angeles for 2.5 years. While we were there, I studied English and I started studying Film.
Once again, we loaded up the moving van and had to move back to Mexico, so I stopped my career. But didn’t stop. I had fallen in love with video, which is when I opened my videography business. I was growing my clientele when we had to move AGAIN! But this time, we moved to Dallas. My daughters were 13 and 7, so during their time at school, I started one certification in Multimedia and another in Web Design at Collin College because I loved video and I wanted to put them online for the world to see.
In 2004, I opened my business in web design, Fujiko Multimedia. I was always trying to create websites that were unique. It worked out, but at the speed that technology was changing, new media like cell phones, iPads, laptops, horizontal layout, vertical layout, etc., it became exhausting. I loved the challenge, but I found myself studying every day to catch up.
One of the things limiting my designs were the photos that my clients used to bring. So, my husband surprised me with my first “professional” camera, the Canon 60D. In 2013, I started photography classes at Collin College. Photography was so difficult compared to video because you have only one click to get the right image. It was very challenging for me. I was not getting it right until one of my teachers, Vernetta, took us to take pictures at the Arboretum at night to photograph an event. She forced us to keep the camera at 100 ISO, at an aperture of 8 f/s; using tripods and slow speed, we captured the most amazing images that night.
Since then, I have kept practicing and discovering all the possibilities that a camera can deliver when using the right settings. By 2014, I was a web designer, who did video, graphic design, and, now, photography.
I was at my chiropractor’s office, who was also my client, and she was going to model for an amazing Master photographer who did composites: Richard Studervant. She said, he could turn anyone into a superhero!
I enrolled in Studervant’s course and I spent the most impressive three days learning, learning, and learning post-production! At his class, he repeatedly mentioned the Dallas Professional Photographer’s Association, DPPA.
Soon after, I went to one of their events called “Little Red School House” and the magic of photography got to me! The instructors were Fernando Valenzuela and Chris Duncan, Master photographers who knew all the ins and outs. Since then, I wake up and spend my day creating and dreaming about photography.
I became a consistent member of the DPPA. I observed, listened, and followed up. At my 54 years of age, I accomplished my Certification as a Professional Photographer. Last year, I started competing in monthly competitions, and while I was expecting nothing, I earned a Silver Medal which represents four merited images, photographs with a score of 80 or above, and one loan, photographs with a score of 95 or above – and the Fuji Masterpiece Award – presented by Fuji Film to the best image printed on their paper.
Last year, four years after first hearing about the DPPA, I was elected as President of Dallas PPA, the organization with more than 200 photographers which inspired me to get where I am. I love being the leader of this amazing group that has become my second family.
The journey doesn’t end here. I want to translate all the experience I get into the best images I can create for my clients. I will keep working to pursue my master’s degree in photography, which is earned through the PPA by 13 exhibition merits and 12 service merits. In a year or so, I hope to be walking the stage with the person who has been my greatest supporter and the most enthusiastic cheerleader in my life: my husband.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I recognize that age is nothing but a number and I still feel strong so, I go to seminars, I take classes online, I volunteer, I come back to apply what I learn, I ask questions. I look up for feedback, I follow up my commitments, I call and recognize my mentors, I practice, practice, practice. I know that I wouldn’t have got where I am without the people who believed in me, so I am humbly grateful… and if I have to do it again, I am never afraid to start over!
What do you do? What do you specialize in?
I am a Certified Professional Photographer, CPP, credited by Professional Photographer’s Association, PPA. I serve as President at my local Professional Photographers Guild, Dallas PPA.
I offer photography services for personal branding/headshots, fine art portraits, and fitness fashion in Allen, TX.
When I am behind the camera, I look for mystery, originality, uncertainty, simplicity, strength, symmetry, asymmetry, triangles, movement, and honest laughs.
I believe in the power of light! Which for me means that light is the language of photography. The shadows and highlights define the mood of an image. I love texture and perspective because both correlate to the level of credibility.
I see the beauty in every human being. For me, the eyes are the expression of the soul and there is magic, shape, strength, and deepness in them. Every subject has its own story and its own magic. I love change and challenge. I love what I do!
Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
Behind every story, there are many challenges…
For me, I have faced the struggle of having divorced parents, the struggles of a step-father, the struggle of alcoholism in my family, the struggle of being a young executive and woman at that time, the struggles of moving from place to place, the struggles of adapting to different cultures, the struggles of learning a new language, and the struggle of getting older.
But I have two options: Making excuses or waking up every morning with an attitude that overcomes all the limitations of the everyday.
When I feel down, I focus on the positive. I use all the energy, knowledge, and power that I have in my mind and body to have faith and believe. I try to give the best version of myself every second. I have patience. I try to lead by example. I try to learn and teach something new every day. I am convinced that things will fall into the right place sooner or later, so I SMILE!