The story behind international photographer Cibelle Levi
International photographer Cibelle Levi has built a huge name for herself in the world of photography. The 28 year old grew up in Los Angeles and has a fascinating background and a credible career that all budding photographers would want. Here we explain how Cibelle got into photography and where she stands today.
It all started when Cibelle was set on moving away for college and decided to apply for Boston University. Even though her friends and family were not so keen on her leaving, Cibelle was adamant; for she wanted to explore and discover outside of LA. She explains that, “My ultimate goal was to graduate and have a diverse group of friends. I have ended up meeting some amazing people with different stories to tell.”
Cibelle was studying business, finance and entrepreneurship at Boston University, but she was still unsure about what she wanted to pursue as a career. Cibelle states that, “Having a business career is a good backbone for anything. Being in a business school was great because it showed me an environment that taught me how to work and respect each other, as well as develop ideas.”
Eventually Cibelle started teaching herself the simple techniques of photography. She states that, “I always had my first ever digital camera in my bag and would always stop to take pictures of random things. One of them would be a squirrel on the street, or a stranger waiting at a bus stop. I’d always zoom in to see what they were doing.”
Fate was in the works for Cibelle, when she met an Italian guy in college and started up a company with him. The company was a creative studio, which was new to the both of them; but it allowed Cibelle to be in tune with her creative side, which she grew a passion for. Cibelle stayed in Boston for 6 months when she graduated, but soon after her heart called out for LA.
She was determined to learn everything about photography and to get some more gigs for herself. She explains that “I had set myself a 5 year challenge, allowing myself to devote 5 years to this path before I would decide to change paths.”
The start to her career
On the road to success, Cibelle learnt a few tricks to build contacts. “I would sit in coffee shops and eavesdrop on conversations. Then I would introduce myself with kindness and honesty, by telling them who I was and my interest in getting into photography.” This trick worked for Cibelle, for she was able to meet amazing people with connections; including her mentor Erik Umphery. In Summer 2015, her career took off with Singer Songwriter Kristina Bazan.
Cibelle was making a name for herself, as she worked for beauty and runway. She explains,
“Fashion seasons found me with back to back clients for backstage beauty and runway: Balmain, Valentino, Dior, to name a few. I grew into a consistent photographer for Dior Beauty, traveling to Grasse France for their perfume and to Paris to photograph their beauty ambassadors.”
Cibelle didn’t just stick to working as a fashion photographer, she also branched out to other sectors of the business too. She attended many awards such as the Emmys and Grammys red carpet, with access and to take photos for clients. She met iconic models such as Winnie Harlow, Emily Ratajkowski, and Rosie Huntington Whiteley.
Cibelle explains that, “My relationship with L’Oreal makeup took me to the Cannes Film Festival back to back years, and from there I grew a direct line into the music industry, shooting top artists like Camila Cabello, James Hersey, Trevor Holmes, and Iggy. It allowed my step into the TV scene as well, working consistently with actors such as Lucy Hale to personalities like Dorit Kemsley.”
What is she up to now?
Cibelle has released a coffee table book with Kenzie Burke, called Summer Refresh and currently wrapping a soon to be released coffee table book of her own, storytelling her first five years of her career through visuals, and personal words. She has refocused her direction and is currently branching out to a whole new space of photography, by working on a couple of pilots for different TV show series.
Her still photography will support pilot releases, soon to be featured on billboards. Cibelle is leveling up her photography skills, by taking on new projects in film and television too, shooting video for hire, and providing A-to-Z art direction and branding for her favored accounts. Her work can be seen on her website: https://www.cibellelevi.com