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Member of the week: Wendy York, makeup artist

Our member of the week is Wendy York. Wendy is a makeup artist, and applies her skill in mediums ranging from wedding photos to magazines and television programs. When working with brides, Wendy not only does makeup, but styles hair and even camouflages any tattoos or scars. At her website, you can find examples of what she's done, including links to her work wedding photographers' portfolios. Wendy describes some of her most memorable experiences freelancing in our interview below and in her profile.


1. What has been your most interesting project?

One of the most personally interesting experiences I have had was when I was booked for hair, make-up, and grooming on a photo shoot for New York Magazine. The photographs were to be used with an article about the sons of Jim Jones, the head of People's Temple.

On November 8th, 1978 I moved to San Francisco from a very small town in upstate New York.The Jonestown Massacre happened in Guyana ten days later on the 18th. The headquarters, People's Temple, was located in San Francisco, and this tragedy impacted the city on a massive level. The media coverage was extensive and only lessened when a month later Harvey Milk and the mayor were shot by Dan White at City Hall. It was a very dramatic and violent time in San Francisco history and it overwhelmed my first impressions of the Bay Area. This job meant more to me and my personal history than a shoot with MTV or something equally well known and valuable on the resume. What was even more meaningful was that the photographer booked for the shoot was Amy Arbus, Diane Arbus' daughter. I adore black and white photography as a creative medium and I was very familiar with Diane Arbus, her work, and history. All of these people brought together had the common thread of experiencing the pain and turmoil in their youth of their famous parents' suicides. They were all wonderful people to work with and unless you knew their history you would never suspect a tragedy in their past. It was by far the shoot that I found most thought-provoking. 2. Why did you decide to go freelance?

I really was drawn to freelancing because of the freedom, flexibility and control you have. My decision to go freelance was made at a point where my collaboration with photographers had grown out of initially creating examples of our work together to create portfolios. It then grew into actually getting calls for work from clients. It got to a point where it often conflicted with my "day job." I gradually built up my freelance work to a point where working at it full-time became the natural outcome.

3. What tip would you give to a new freelancer or someone who is considering going freelance?

Successfully freelancing full time to the point of not worrying about money takes time. And good marketing. I did not shift into full-time freelancing until I had an easily accessible savings to fall back on. Freelancers sometimes experience seasonal slow downs. I prefer to stay productive and positive. I look at these times as an opportunity to fine tune my marketing efforts, catch up on networking, or take a class. These are areas that you can easily fall behind on during the feasting times.

4. What is your favorite spot in the city in which you live?

I now live in Rhode Island and I'm drawn to the water fire events they have in the river in downtown Providence. The beauty of the fire in the midst of the water with incredible music and numerous types of performance art is magical.

5. What is your inspiration?

Beauty is my inspiration. When I lived full-time in San Francisco I was greatly inspired by the Pacific Ocean in all its vibrancy. The fresh ocean air renews my soul and invigorates my senses.

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