Zephy Photography: A Celebration of LA Culture with a Classic, Colorful Touch

By Elise Gray

Stephanie Monroe, otherwise known as Zeph by her friends, is a SoCal native who has always been a lover of photography. When you live in a city as cool as Los Angeles, it's easy to find your fair share of abandoned buildings, clear beaches, and makeshift sets. Stephanie creates work that is immersive.

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The overall aesthetic of each image she creates is as unique as it is vivacious. With poised portfolio of images portraying gleaming diner signs and her Sphynx cats—Michael and Clovis—one can see things the way she does. Whether she's capturing all the colorful tones of the Amalfi Coast or the Santa Monica Pier, she always manages to portray her photos with a blend of bright hues and a classic touch.

Stephanie finds inspiration all around her, which is evident as there's no shortage of vintage pieces in her home. Her cats are wandering on the table behind her as she talks, "I can build an entire idea for a shoot around a single object—that's what I love about photography; the possibilities are endless."

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What influences your work?

"So many things—it's hard to put it into words. Colorful things and time periods are big ones for me. I will always have mad love for vintage eras; my automatic instinct is to want to recreate that old-timey feel starting anywhere from the early 1900's to present. It's just so beautifully aesthetic in my opinion."

She sits in the middle of her Culver City apartment with her Sphynx Clovis in hand as she explains the process of begging her parents for disposable cameras. "...that was my thing as a kid. It wasn't until later in my life when I discovered the power of editing that I really started showing a true passion for photography and editing; I equally love doing both."

Stephanie shoots a lot of sceneries and objects on her iPhone, but when she wants a real crisp, professional photo, she busts out either the Sony a5100 or the Nikon d3100. 

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"I'm simplistic with the cameras I use. It also depends on the subject your photographing everyone has their own style of shooting," says Monroe. When you photograph things that make you feel good, you can't always prepare for the moment—that's how art is born.

When asked what editing tools she uses, she mentions that she bounces back and forth between Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and occasionally VSCO.

You’ve mentioned that you do not focus on subjects specifically, but more on how the image makes you feel. It is an unusual concept; what did you mean by that?

Well, it's clear that there is a strong connection between human memory and the photographs we take. I think so much of our lives are visual. Why wouldn't you want to capture that feeling forever? The similarities between our eyes and a camera aren't that different, and when you look at something it sparks an emotion, a memory, that is the effect I want to give in my photos.

What is something you want people to take away from your images?

I want them to feel something even if it's for 1 second. To also look at life with an open mind and to always have fun. I put my heart and soul into every photo I take—even if it's a picture of a burrito. 

You can find Stephanie Monroe's photography by following her @zephy_photography on Instagram. Feel free to DM her or check out her portfolio, zephyphotography.com, for any shoot requests. You can also follow her personal account, @zephaniemonroe for daily shenanigans. Be sure to follow her for any updates about collaborations or future gallery shows.

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