CJC Interview: Bogdana Ferguson, Fashion Photographer

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Tell us a little about your path so far— where are you from? Where are you currently?  Share a few career highlights. I am originally from Ukraine, where I was born, raised and taught arts. I moved to the US by myself in 2014, working weird jobs for cash and dreaming about having a creative career.

Now, I’m a working fashion photographer, which brings me the most joy and I also write about sustainable fashion and living."

Where do you find inspiration? “Inspiration always comes with stories. Whether it’s a painting in the museum or a stranger passing by, there’s a story they bring in. I synthesize those stories into my own work and life.”

How would you describe your personality? “I’m calm, introverted person. But if something fires me up, I will fight for it.”

What does being an ‘entrepreneur’ mean to you? “Being an entrepreneur for me is to be a juggler. You not only have to know every side of your craft, but also business, marketing, psychology, and communications. I never thought this is what my path would look like.”

What’s the biggest misconception you face WFH or as an entrepreneur? “I think the biggest misconception is that you’re going to have more free time when you work from home. The truth is that it’s much harder to put boundaries around your time. And it’s also hard to put boundaries around your work vs chores. Sometimes I will end up going to the post office and doing groceries until 3pm, but then there’s all this work is awaiting. Self-discipline is the most important when working freelance.”

Who was the last person that inspired you and why?  “The last person that inspired me was French journalist Lauren Bastide, her interview with StyleLikeU (mom & daughter duo). I think you will like it too.”

What’s your favorite ‘me-time’ or ’self-care' activity? “Hate to be this boring, but exercise is definitely my favorite. I’ve never been a sporty girl, and it’s hard for me to get up and work out. But I’ve found that doing it at home really makes me enjoy the process much more. Also, it boosts my brain activity and helps me be more productive. Exercise does just as much, if not more, for our mental health as it does for our bodies.”

What is the biggest lesson you learned in your 20s? “I’m now getting closer to my mid-twenties, and the biggest lesson I’ve learned is something that everyone learns in physics class at school. It goes something like this: energy is neither created nor destroyed. In our daily life, it can be translated into our actions and their consequences.

 Energy, or actions, that you put into the world, never disappear, they are just transformed into something that you get as consequences. That’s what moves me to be more politically and socially active. Because I hope that my actions will be transformed into something good.”

What is your outlook on your future career? Your career industry? “I think it’s an interesting time in photography. Never before has it been so important and valued as it is now. So, I’m very curious to see how it’s going to evolve, particularly in the fashion industry. People put high social standards on it, and I think it’s the right thing to do. Visual images are the greatest vessels for truth and change, stronger than words. I think that anyone who has this power must, in one way or another, help to contribute to this change: being more inclusive, open-minded and honest.”

What’s your favorite quote? 

“To wisely live your life, you don't need to know much
Just remember two main rules for the beginning:
You better starve, than eat whatever
And better be alone, than with whoever.”

― Omar Khayyám

What is the biggest contributor to your personal, inevitable self-doubt? “Social media. If not handled with care, our fragile self-esteem can break easily after a few scrolls on Instagram.”

If you could give one piece of career advice what would it be?  “Work. Just work and don’t worry too much about the future. Respect rules of the game and always try to do your best. Now, it doesn’t mean that you should chain yourself to the job you hate. Pursue your happiness, but know that there’s a lot of frustration on the path to it. It’s normal.”

Who do you find in business, a personal mentor or celebrity figure to be most intriguing? “There are so many who inspire and influence me all the time, but mostly, I’m just very curious about how they got to the point they are at now.”

If you weren’t pursuing your current career, what would you want to be doing? “I think I’d be writing. Before going to design school, I had thoughts of becoming a journalist, but I didn’t think I wanted to go that way. Now that I am working in fashion photography and writing about sustainable fashion and living, I’m coming back to the thoughts about journalism.”

If you could give younger self any bit of wisdom what would it be? “Again, just don’t worry too much about the future. Keep doing what you’re doing and be brave.”

How do you define success? “I think to be successful is to be independent.”

What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses as an entrepreneur and/or WFH? “It varies from day to day. Sometimes I’m a queen of time management, and other times I can’t get myself to work.”

What do you believe most prepared/inspired you to work solo—i.e. corporate experience, college, friends, family, etc.? “The support of my husband. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to leave my day job and go freelance.”

What is your favorite Instagram to follow? Favorite brands on social? "Get ready; there’s a lot! @fash_rev @garancedore @manrepeller @unconditionalmagazine @diet_prada @oraclefoxjournal @sabinasocol @jeannedamas @alwaysjudging and that’s just the beginning."

What’s something few people know about you? “I might seem very serious, especially in a big group of people. But those who know me well, know that I love being silly.”

The Crackerjack Collective is a series of informal interviews for These New Walls, featuring my entrepreneur and/or work from home network that continuously inspires me. These interviews are meant to, in turn, inspire others looking for similar insight on what we do and the motivation to get started. Know someone extraordinary that you want to see featured in the CJC? Send us an email. x Kate, Founder, TNW