Chinelle Rojas, Unraveled | An Interview
Chinelle is a wife, mom, activist, brand designer, and birth photographer and videographer located in Tampa, Florida. She started her photography journey late 2010, shot her first birth in the spring of 2011 and is passionate about all things birth. She is an activist in the birth community and founder of Birth United, a community dedicated to the representation of families of color in birth and whose mission is to bring awareness to women of color of the options available to them through the imagery of birth.
Chinelle is one of the teachers of Empowering Women of Color Through Photography alongside Toni Black, J’aime Davis and Traci Lester. This is a ground-breaking MasterCourse that aspires to break down the stereotypes and misconceptions behind women of color in life and business, educate the public, as well as inspire and empower all people to connect, support and validate one another on their creative journeys, despite their race or color. Students will not only learn history but they will learn how to be inclusive in their business model, expose for different skin tones, and shoot what matters most.
Click HERE to join our tribe and take this Master Course.
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Here is Chinelle, Unraveled…
What inspires your art?
Such a hard question to truly nail down as I’m inspired by what’s seen and what’s overlooked. Birth, in itself, is still taboo. We think that it is just about the moment of birth and forget the pieces leading up to it and those that follow. I take the lead from the memories that I could only wish I had from the birth of my first and capture those for the families that I have the pleasure of working with.
What do you shoot with? Camera body and favorite lens?
My main body is a Fujifilm XH-1 and, depending on if I’m shooting photos or video, either my 23mm f/1.4 or my 16-55mm f/2.8.
What other ways do you express your creativity?
I enjoy drawing and writing.
How do you de-stress at the end of the day?
I’m a shower-sitter, so a long hot shower while I jam out to disney songs is pretty amazing to me. Then 90% of the time, I end the night with sudoku.
What kind of music do you listen to while editing?
I actually don’t listen to music while editing. I’m more of a Netflix/Hulu type.
What is your favorite book?
My current favorite is The Hate U Give.
Name one movie that inspires you.
Probably Hidden Figures. It shows me that although we, as black women of color, are underrepresented in the mainstream as anything other than angry black women or video vixens, we are ACTUALLY still behind the scenes doing major work. One day, everything that has been hidden or suppressed will come to light and the world will be privy to our awesomeness.
How do you handle self-doubt or creative slumps?
Full disclosure: through taking and sharing self portraits. My love language is words of affirmation, so it’s super encouraging to be vulnerable with my work and myself and get positive feedback on it.
What has been the most difficult part of your creative journey?
Believing that I’m actually a pretty great artist has been and still is the hardest thing to fathom. I often feel unworthy and like I’m a complete fraud.
Who is one of your favorite photographers?
Gah. So, one of my favorites (since I can only pick one) is Sasha Holloway from Bleulips. Not only is her work phenomenal, her personality is equally amazing!