If you’ve ever been to a GatherDC happy hour, you may have noticed that charismatic redhead walking around shooting quick, candid pics of you laughing with your friends in the corner. Turns out, the man behind the camera is someone you should definitely get to know. Check out his interview below, and then be sure to say hey next time you see him at a happy hour!
Allie: I heard that in addition to being a photographer, you used to teach at the EDCJCC. What did you enjoy most about teaching preschoolers?
Aryeh: Working with preschoolers is the most pure joy you will ever have. It’s so rewarding and just makes you feel good. Something as simple as seeing one of them smile at you can brighten your day. The hardest part of transitioning into photography full time was saying goodbye to working with those preschoolers.
Allie: What inspired you to become a photographer?
Aryeh: Sophomore year of high school, I took an Intro to Film/Photography class and not going to lie – I was going to fail the class. On the second to last day, the teacher said to me that if stayed after and helped him clean up the darkroom he would give me a passing grade. So I did. He bumped my grade up and signed me up for the second level photography class. From there, I took all of the photography classes at my high school and loved it.
I’m a college drop out – I should say that with pride. I went to a small technical college in Minnesota for a year. After I dropped out, I took weekend workshops and photography classes. These classes helped me realize I could make a living off of photography, off of people watching essentially.
Allie: What do you love most about being a photographer?
Aryeh: Whenever I see a person, I notice the most minute details like the way their pinky points out, or an interesting earring. As a photographer I think it’s my job to bring those details out in the photos. It’s a challenge and really gratifying.
Allie: What is your favorite thing to photograph?
Aryeh: I enjoy happy hour style events where people are actually happy to be where they are. It’s also really cool when I can get a group of friends together and can do a funny photoshoot. I’d like to dabble in early childhood fashion photography, that’s a dream of mine.
Allie: What’s your favorite place to photograph?
Aryeh: I really like those forgotten, derelict areas of industrial cities or small towns. I love to make juxtapositions in my imagery like put a modern, stylish person in front of an old building. and that will naturally pop and stand out.
Allie: Beyond photography, you also manage a huge WNBA website. How and why did you start this?
Aryeh: My parents divorced when I was growing up, and I had majority custody with my mother. I saw my mom work crazy hours and she really inspired me. A lot of the time, I was left in charge of taking care of my sisters. I realized that I wanted female role models that my little sisters could look up, so I started bringing them to WNBA games in Minnesota. The WNBA team in Minnesota is the most winning sports team in Minnesota.
It started as me just retweeting stuff about the WNBA because I found that there wasn’t enough coverage of it. From there, it grew to my realizing that female sports in general are not covered like male sports. There’s so many inequalities in the NBA versus WNBA. The NBA pays its players 50% of league revenue, while WNBA athletes get around 20%.
Today, WNBA Insidr is the largest independent news source for the WNBA. I have a staff of 12 who write for me and a podcast called “WNBA Insidr” and have had former MVPs on our Podcast!
Allie: When are you the happiest?
Aryeh: During a photoshoot that’s going well or during a competitive WNBA game – or when I’m with my niece and nephew.
Allie: What’s at the top of your life bucket list?
Aryeh: One dream was to sit courtside for a Minnesota WNBA game, but now that I’m press, I’m not allowed to do that. Another is to have my own photography studio/art gallery that has classes to teach kids photography and art appreciation. I would also like the WNBA Insidr to get big. But my bigger goal is that there’s a day where my outlet is no longer needed because coverage for the WNBA is so huge.
Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish food?
Aryeh: I could literally live off of hummus and cucumbers for the rest of my life. Also, Aràk, which is a Middle Eastern liquor that tastes like heaven. Others say it tastes like black licorice.
Allie: Complete the sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…
Aryeh: It’s always a good time.
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