We had the good fortune of connecting with Amber Schwartz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amber, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
When I decided to pursue photography, I didn’t set out to make it a career. I was stuck in an unfulfilling office job where I was replaceable and felt drained everyday after work. I needed a passion to help light my life up; I wanted to feel that drive and passion again. I picked up my 10 year old camera and started shooting. After the first few shoots I did at this time, I noticed that I was beaming again. I left all of my shoots smiling, I was excited and energized, and even started to regain confidence in myself after receiving such heart warming messages from my clients and models. It was actually after a very heartwarming senior session that I decided I needed to pursue this with all of my heart. I did senior portraits for a young women in my area, and it seemed like a pretty typical shoot to me. But after the shoot, she messaged me telling me that it was the first time in her life that she felt beautiful and that she had struggled with body image her entire life. She said she cried when she saw her pictures because she realized she was beautiful inside and out. I remember receiving this message and knowing that it was time to pursue this because I could make a difference with something I was also so passionate about. I jumped in full-fledged, and kept the values of passion and fulfillment at the center of my business. I was always told that artists are starving and broke, which kept me in fear of living my dream. But once I saw that I could make a difference and that my art mattered, I knew everything else would fall into place. Now, I am a photographer and talent agent full-time, and I live my dream of creating everyday.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
A key part of my story and my brand has been following my heart and passion, and not worrying about how I can monetize it. I found that I have been most successful when I create what I want to create and not what everyone else is telling me to create. In the beginning, instead of just focusing on photography bookings, I focused on creating experiences for my clients that left them feeling confident and happy, not focused on receiving another paycheck. I realized something that set me apart from others is that I have a firm belief that there is room for everyone- every artist has a unique place and each of us are needed in this world. I don’t view other photographers as competition because we are nowhere near the same- I could never create what they are creating because I am not them! This way of thinking has helped me tremendously in my professional career, because it helped create a safe place for my art and others. Living in a rural community, I noticed that many people who were interested in pursuing a creative path gave up quickly because there weren’t as many opportunities as a big city. So I thought to myself, why don’t we bring the opportunities here? What is stopping us from having the same opportunities, especially in today’s digital age? So I set off to bring the opportunities here. When I announced that I would be opening a modeling agency in my rural community, where we would train and develop models with a new-wave approach, I got a ton of critics- comments about how that wasn’t possible while laughing in my face. But this only made me work harder because I believed in myself and my dream. I cried tears of accomplishment when I signed 13 models in my modeling agency grand opening and all of the critics were silent. A huge lesson I learned in this is to not let the negativity get to you- believe and hear the people who support you and cheer you on. These people will have a greater impact than the people who are too afraid to live out their dreams. My small business, Schwartz Media (photography services, modeling agency, and magazine), was built off of the pursuit of happiness and I truly believe that is the key to success.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I have fallen in love with our small rural community in Southwest Colorado. Montezuma County is filled with so many amazing places to visit and enjoy. I highly recommend visiting Mesa Verde National Park for a day trip with the family. Visit ancient ruins of indigenous people who lived in breathtaking cliff-dwellings and learn all about the lives and culture of indigenous people. You definitely have to walk, tube, or picnic the Dolores River in summer or fall. You will be at peace while walking along rows of fall colored aspen tress and giant ponderosa pine trees. While you are strolling the Dolores River, stop at Montezuma Mexican for the most delicious Mexican food and a table right on the river. Make sure to order the Camarones Vallarta or Camarones con coco- it’s life changing. Us locals joke that the shrimp is cooked so perfect that you can eat the tail (and it’s no joke!). Another amazing site and an awesome sunset hiking spot is Canyon of the Ancients National Monument at Sand Canyon. Enjoy a breath-taking 30 minute drive out of town into jaw-dropping red rock canyons to the trailhead, which features 360 views of amazing red rocks spires and the sacred Sleeping Ute Mountain. Stay awhile at Ancient Cedars RV park, located right across from Mesa Verde National park. It is locally owned and operated and has amazing cabins, rv spaces, minigolf, clean facilities, and a friendly staff. And if you’re in the mood for a great drink, you have to stop by Wildedge Brewing Collective for a locally brewed beer with a relaxing atmosphere. Lastly, stop into Cliffrose on Market for a locally crafted gift for yourself or loved one. Cliffrose on Market carries handmade jewelry, accessories, decor, and more!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I couldn’t have gotten where I am today without the support of my husband, Ethan, who supported and encouraged me to pursue my dreams of creating, even when we didn’t what that looked like in terms of a career in making money. He encouraged me to follow my dreams when I felt too scared to try something new and I am so grateful for him. I also owe a huge shoutout to the first group of models who signed with Schwartz Models in 2019. Without this group, I would be nowhere near as successful as I am today. This group of models trusted me and supported me in every way imaginable throughout the stages of my career. This group of models deserves all of the success imaginable: KC, Taybree, Cecilia, Andrea, Jadyn, Jenesis, Abby, John, Taylee, Bridge, Jessica, and Kassidy of Schwartz Models- Thank you for taking this journey with me. I feel like I have been so blessed with such an awesome support system.
press picture taken by 303 Magazine at Denver Fashion week