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Meet Shari Corbett of Shari Corbett Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shari Corbett.

Shari, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m formally educated in graphic design with a degree from Collins College, where I served on the alumni committee; I got my creative spark from a foundation in photography. I had the opportunity to study under one of Arizona’s greatest known photographers, the late Lance Fairchild, who was known for his breathtaking wedding portraits and iconic images of President Ronald Reagan. I’ve spent the last 10 years working in the entertainment industry from small venues to world touring artists, designing marketing campaigns, producing pre-production materials, photographing shows, and creating memories for fans all over the world. I like to tell people that I’ve been working in the dark for so long that it’s time to come back into the light…get back to my roots.

I’ve been shooting most of my life. I picked up a camera while I was in high school for a holiday job at Sear’s Portrait Studio at 16 years old, and from that day on I have been bitten by the shutterbug. This “bug” has taken me into multiple studios and labs in Tucson before digital existed. I loved working in a darkroom developing film in a canister and printing enlargements on an old school enlarger. This was pre-Photoshop and dodging and burning was done by hand and skin was retouched on a negative.

When I moved to Phoenix, I was kinda lost. My husband’s career (radio personality) moved us here and things started to shift. I enrolled at Collins College and graduated in 2002. I fell in love with Photoshop. All these things that I did by hand so long ago could be done digitally.

After college, I had a full-time job and worked as a designer for Sutter’s Mill and then moved on to Varsity Gold. In 2009, Varsity Gold filed for bankruptcy and I was out of a job. I swore that I would never let anyone have control of my future and I went to work for myself. I opened One Louder Designs and specialized in graphic design and photography for the entertainment industry. In my husband’s job, he came in contact and friends with many celebrities and artists. It wasn’t long after graduating Collins that I landed my first really big gig with Dave Ellefson of Megadeth. Dave was putting together a new band, F5, and needed a logo design and some concert photos. Dave and his artists gave me the opening to what would be my career for 10 years. When I lost my job in 2009, my husband’s connections put me in the right place at the right time.

The entertainment industry is based on relationships. It’s actually a very tight-knit family and it carries a less than 6 degrees of separation. I’ve been on world tours shooting documentary footage, have photographed too many shows to count, designed marketing collateral for some of the most revered names in the business, worked with countless venues and promoters on concepts and marketing ideas, but some of the best moments are those that are spent backstage talking to the artists as friends.

In late 2016 I had the beginning stages of a life-altering illness that would change me forever. I have occipital neuralgia, and it took an expert from Barrows and almost a year to diagnose it. The pain was unbearable and I lost the ability to continue to push myself to all hours of the day and night and deal with the stress that comes with being so close to the music. I wanted to give up and hide under a rock. Something had to give but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the exciting life I had carved out for myself. In October of 2016, I changed things up quite a bit and left many of my major clients. I would now focus on mainly studio photography. I could still keep some of my smaller industry clientele but a studio would give me the control over my hours and how much stress I would have to endure.

In November 2016, I signed a lease for a co-op space at Parkwood Photography Studios at 2212 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006. I’m just 1 of the 18 other photographers that lease the space and it has everything I will ever need to get a shoot done right. Lighting, make-up rooms, a kitchen, and 4 beautiful studios. The best part of being at Parkwood is the other members. We are like a big creative family that supports each other and learn from one another.

How do I explain what I do? I’m hybrid of glamour and portrait photography with a unique blend of digital artistry. Creating composites and stunning images uses both my love photography and Photoshop. I haven’t left all the entertainment industry in my past. I still create pixel perfection for TAD Management, Arizona Broadway Theatre, and Khris Dodge Entertainment. I’ve also been known to work with an entertainment PR company- Insight Management for various photo opportunities and on occasion – Celebrity Theatre, where I spent several years being their house photographer.

Accolades:
2013 Collins College recipient of the Alumni Award
In October of 2014, The Phoenix New Times named me as one of Phoenix’s Top 10 Concert Photographers.

My work has been published in The Arizona Republic, Phoenix New Times, Pollstar and Mobile Production Monthly.

Has it been a smooth road?
No, not always smooth. Anyone who has their own business will tell you that the road has lots ups and downs. There have been many times in my past that it was feast or famine. Some months you made nothing and thought you may have to live in your car and others months you were able to keep the lights on. I hear this money struggle from every entrepreneur I know. You really find out what you’re made of and what your breaking point is.

You have to be a sponge and soak up all that you can. It can be good or bad but you must continue to learn how to do things right and how to try to minimize the damage when you make a mistake. When I speak to young creatives that are getting ready to graduate, I tell them this…

It wasn’t long ago that I was sitting where you are today. Thinking back, I remember the feeling of excitement as this day approached and I could not wait to conquer the world with all I had learned. The journey to this place was not easy. As you know, it’s filled with hard work, dedication and digging deep inside yourself to find inspiration when you think the hope to find anything creative and clever doesn’t exist.

Let me talk to you about creativity and about fear. Both are things that come from within and can be controlled by YOU and both can make or break YOU. Which one wins is up to you and the choices you make.
–Fear is defined as “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”. Fear is the thief of dreams. Stop waiting to start living.
–Creative is defined as being marked by the ability or power to “Create”. This means you have The POWER to make things.

Both are internal…It’s a choice; Of Perspective!!! The difference between the two is that Fear is an EMOTION or REACTION.

Creativity is a DRIVEN DESIRE…a NEED, an EMPOWERMENT.

One of my favorite quotes:
“Even when you think you have your life all mapped out, things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might never have imagined.” ― Deepak Chopra

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Shari Corbett Photography – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I’m hybrid of glamour and portrait photography with a unique blend of digital artistry. Creating composites and stunning images uses both my love photography and Photoshop.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love that we have lots of diversity here, especially in the creative arena. I can’t stand how to spread out we are. I think its 517 square miles? When I have to travel to Peoria for a client and it takes me an hour without traffic, UGH…that’s a killer.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Arizona Broadway Theatre

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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