Where you grew up and your background can often have surprising effects on our lives and careers. We’ve asked folks from the community to tell us about how their background has affected them.

Leslie Chester | Photographer

I am from a small town in the Northwest part of Arizona, where the Colorado River meets the state of Nevada, in a town called Bullhead City. I grew up on the outskirts of town, on dirt roads with horses and goats for 4H. I rode horses to the river on Native lands and my quad to my friend’s house when I was older. I am the youngest of four children. My siblings and I would play outside until the sun went down and dinner was on the table. Besides tag, our games consisted of throwing dirt clods at each other, catching lizards and letting them go.
I had chores. What felt like endless chores at the time. My dad never let me quit anything. My mom always reminded me there were others worse off. They are the kind of parents you respect and you don’t want to let down.
I played sports in middle school and high school. I had people in my life that taught me to put in the hard work. Read more>>

Rachel Mostofizadeh | Photographer

I grew up in northern New Hampshire in an idyllic small town with 3 siblings. Being the third child (and youngest girl), there are not a ton of photographs of just me growing up. My dad had a really nice camera that he used for work and sometimes brought out on the weekends at home. My parents hired a professional photographer once in my youth and I cherish the family photo that came from that day. I put a lot of stock in having family photos taken (and printed) because I see the value in having these memories as an adult. Read more>>

Philip Carnevale | Photographer and Cinematographer

I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere Colorado, Buena Vista. Where I grew up you could be one of the cool kids and go to the parties or spend time alone in the mountains exploring. Being a bit of an outcast & chose the latter. I always found myself staring into the rivers and mountains entranced by the beauty all around me. When it came time to go to College I knew I wanted to go into art and photography, but I unfortunately have parents who would not allow such a thing. “No son of mine is going to be an artist!” So I went to college for a different degree and met this amazing woman who is now my wife, she surprised me with my first camera and encouraged me to go out and capture the world. Read more>>