To celebrate International Women’s Day, oHHo is shining a spotlight on women who have circled into our orbit, and made a lasting impression. Each oHHo muse dances to her own tune, transforming her passion into profit, and upending gender stereotypes as she goes. Prepare to be inspired…
Rhonda Spevak has been a professional photographer for 15 years. Her work has appeared in Bedford New Canaan Magazine, Hampton Magazine and Record Review. She lives in Pound Ridge with her two daughters. Rhonda’s first solo exhibition launches in oHHo, March 9
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
The remarkable power of women supporting women. I am profoundly grateful to - and moved by - the women who show up for me in moments, great and small. It inspires me to pay it forward whenever I can.
What led you to a career in photography?
I first picked up a camera when I was a kid but, it wasn’t until my dad gave me my first digital camera in 1996, that I really fell in love. In 2009 I traveled solo to Cuba to document whatever interested me. Those photos were published, which led to several more photo stories. But, ultimately, it was my daughters’ school that really opened the door. After I photographed a variety of school performances and birthday parties, they asked if I could photograph portraits of the kids for the auction. That led to tons more work and 15 years later, here I am!
What career challenges have you faced as a woman?
To borrow from MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, it’s this: knowing my value. Negotiating what I need and what I’m entitled to, without feeling the need to justify it, or explain myself.
If you could share a piece of advice with your younger self, what would it be?
I continually remind myself that validation of who I am and what I do needn’t come from others.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge women face today?
Hands down, it’s autonomy over our own bodies. If women are not afforded that basic, human right, how can we ever expect to be treated equally in other areas of our lives?
What is your proudest achievement?
Raising two strong, curious, kind women who will take all of who they’re becoming to be a force for good. It’s the greatest legacy I can think of.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Determine what you’re passionate about, then find a way to support yourself with it.
Can you share with us a woman to watch?
There are so many women who have done remarkable things. They should be celebrated, not only for what they’ve accomplished, but for how their tenacity and courage has motivated and supported others. I’m more inclined to champion the shared pursuit, as it’s the unwavering perseverance and conviction of a collective voice, and the shared experience, that’s the most meaningful.
Who is your greatest mentor/supporter?
I am blessed to have an incredible circle of supportive people in my life, but my most true blue, bury-the-body go-to is Joe Sinnott. We first met when I took a class he taught at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Since then, Joe has become my rock for all things photography: lighting guru, assistant-extraordinaire, and the man with all the answers. Most importantly, he has become a dear, and immensely-valued, friend.
What’s the story behind your oHHo collaboration?
Around the time I discovered oHHo, I was experimenting with photographing a collection of flowers from Wildfig Floral in Katonah. One day, I was staring at a pile of empty oHHo CBD chocolate packaging, and inspiration hit. I decided to shoot a series of both color and black-and-white florals. I’m ecstatic and grateful for this exhibition. The way an artist sees and interprets things is so personal; having a show is like having my insides on display! But, with the enthusiasm and support of this community, it couldn’t be a better first experience.
Quick Fire Round
Last thing you Googled? Ha, a synonym, most likely. Word-lover here.
Last book you read? Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon.
Most-used app? Waze. To dodge the speed traps!
Favorite oHHo product? Easy. CBD Milk chocolate.
Signature style in a sentence? Casual cool, with a pinch of edge.
Most surprising thing about you? I love great food, but I loathe making it.
Rhonda Spevak’s debut exhibition is showing at The Little Shop of oHHo, 13 Court Road, Bedford, NY, 10506March 9th - April 9th