What Message Do You Think
Every Woman Should Hear?

With Teri Bocko

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hi! I’m Teri B. I’m a Destination Wedding + Commercial Photographer currently based in Los Angeles, splitting part of my year + work in Paris, France. I have shot weddings on Hawaiian beaches, below the Northern Lights in Iceland, in castles on the French countryside, along lakes in Jersey, atop mountains in Yosemite, among fields of sunflowers in Provence, redwoods in Northern California + in quiet districts of foggy London town, just to name a few. Visual storytelling has always come naturally to me, starting as a youngster photographing my pets, beanie babies + family trips. Commercially I have shot for Yogurtland, a National Geographic Lodge in Big Sky, Montana, WeWork Paris + Koraokia in Palm Springs. I have served as an artistic director, stylist + campaign content provider for the Farm Sanctuary, Treat Yourself, Pavemint (LA Based parking App) + a newly launching resort in Laguna Beach.

Recent accomplishments include being selected in the top 139 finalists out of 13,000 submissions for the New York Times Traveler Abroad position at the end of last year. I did an article on my trip to the Ukrainian lost city of Pripyat + a visual storytelling piece on the Sutro Baths of San Francisco. I am currently working on a styling travel book.
 

What is one thing no one really knows about you?
I’ve had incredibly vivid, reoccurring + often lucid dreams since I was a kid. Broadway jam sessions are a thing in my car. I’ve never been into books but I can read quotes for hours.

What would you say to 16 year old you?
Do not weigh yourself down with the desire to be popular or fashionable or admired by boys. Laugh more, create more + learn more. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My grandfather told me it’s much better to laugh than to cry + to always enjoy the journey, for that is what life is.

Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
Photography is still a male-driven industry + I’ve felt + faced adversity since the beginning. My first wedding company was with my boyfriend at the time. Even though I handled the majority of the business side, marketing, building multiple websites, client relations, etc, people would assume my ex was the boss since he was the man. Often in conversation people wouldn’t even make eye contact with me, thinking I was just the assistant or cute girl next to the photographer—even when i had the camera in my hand. I would always feel disheartened + disrespected. No one likes feeling disregarded in their craft. It still happens sometimes, regardless of if I am shooting alone or if my assistant is a man. I politely let them hear my roar [whilst twirling my dress around] + carry on. I have learned not to let the opinions of others dictate my ability to create + get the job done. A lion doesn’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.

What message do you think every woman should hear?
Hand in hand with the message above. Do not let the opinions of others discourage you. You are uniquely you + that is your power.

Why do you love to travel? 
I’ve been fortunate that travel has almost always been a part of my life. My mother was a teacher growing up + we lived the school year in Texas + summers in Minnesota —needless to say, I’ve never been good at staying put I never tire of seeing a new place. It inspires me, puts me at ease, scares me + excites me all at the same time. 

What do you love most about yourself?
My ability to be emotionally moved by the world around me. Emotions weren’t really welcomed in my upbringing, it was a sign of weakness + largely deemed inappropriate. I am proud of myself for letting myself feel + be moved by things around me. It’s not all the time, but here + there I am comfortable with giving in.

What is your favorite meal?
Vegan thai takeout down the street from my house in LA. Red Curry with Muy Thai wings. It’s the only takeout I ever get + I always crave it.

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I am deeply fascinated by abandoned places. In my twenties, I completed a list of must-sees including Chernobyl, Nara Dreamland in Japan, Wonderland outside of Beijing, China + an eerie plane crash in the middle of nowhere in Iceland. I would explore many more of them if I wasn’t afraid of ghosts + the dark.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned along the way?
It’s okay to fail and it’s alright to change your mind. I came to Los Angeles with aspirations to be an actor. I worked really hard and actually had a few successes, one of which was working as a stand-in and photo double for Zooey Deschanel on New Girl for the show’s last four seasons.  Eventually, I realized that an acting life couldn’t provide what I really craved: traveling + creating. I was scared that people would think I had given up, part of me still feels that way. I learned that it’s okay. At the end of it all, I hold my happiness above that of others— without being a jerk, naturally. 

What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
When I wake up in the morning, before jumping on Instagram or checking my emails, I breathe. I thank God for the gift of a new day. I recall my dreams and think about the lessons they taught me while I rested. I’ve never been one for proper to-do lists but always have a running log in my head of responsibilities and goals to accomplish. I take time to daydream. Sometimes I break for a walk or go for a quick run if I need to clear my head.

If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
Maybe be a movie location scout or have my own coffee shop. 

How do you manage your work-life balance?
Sometimes it’s all a very fine line. I am grateful that I have my dream job and many times my work life IS exactly what I would be doing in my personal life any way. I’m very much a home-body and almost always prefer cooking at home to eating out and getting plenty of rest between shoots + trips. I talk to my family and friends on the phone regularly. As far as relationships, my boyfriend and I designate time + days that are technology free. Unplugging is important, and actually the thing i love the most about international flights.

What advice would you give a woman who wants a career in a creative industry?
First, and foremost, discover what you excel at. Be familiar with your strengths + also your weaknesses. No need to obsess, cultivate them in private and move forward.  By recognizing my own flaws since the beginning of pursing a creative career, I have be able to work through my shortcomings. I heard once from an experienced music industry executive to not go into a creative field unless you really have something different, unique + bold to contribute. It’s a little bit of tough love advice but I do believe it. Mention worthy: be yourself.We’ve all heard it a million times but its true, no one else offers what you can. Let’s cheers + say it once more.

What is something on your bucket list?
To finish + publish a styling book I have been working on from around the world. Also, to have my own apartment in Paris.

More About Teri

Teri b is a a full time Destination Wedding + Commercial Photographer based in Los Angeles, California. Commercial clients include: Yogurtland, a National Geographic Lodge in Big Sky, Montana, WeWork Paris + Koraokia in Palm Springs. She has served as an artistic director, stylist + campaign content provider for the Farm Sanctuary, Treat Yourself, Pavemint (LA Based parking App) + a newly launching resort called Hotel Joaquin in Laguna Beach. Other work has been featured on an international photojournalism project called ‘Make A Place’ + on various weddings + travel publications around the world. Her most famous photo is of a smiling sheep in Ireland.

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