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Summer Series-Chloe Masco

Ever since Chloe Masco was featured on the Babes in Business Instagram this winter I have been obsessed with her work. Chloe is the woman behind the lens of Claudia Chloe photography. She captures and sells prints of the shoreline, but not just your everyday photo. She hangs out of a helicopter and captures stunning birds eye views of the coasts of New Jersey, Miami, and Puerto Rico.

So if you too are dreading the end of the summer season, fear not my friends for I have found the cure for you, and that cure is Chloe Masco and her unbelievable photographs.

What’s one of your favorite memories of growing up on the beach?

When I was in high school my friends and I would ride our bikes to Ocean Grove Beach every morning and lay our towels in a circle all facing each other and stay there until the sun went down just about every single day of the summer. You don’t realize things like that eventually stop happening as everyone gets older and busier. And now my job is to document other groups of friends doing the same thing!

I read on the AP Press that you weren’t originally set on being a photography major but after transferring to Monmouth University they accidentally placed you in the photography program. What was your plan prior to that?

I didn’t really have one. I had just finished my AFA at Brookdale in Studio Art. While I was there I interned for another local artist (and now a very good friend, Christine Lindstrom) who was selling prints of her paintings on Etsy. I helped her print, pack, & ship her orders and I LOVED it. I knew I wanted to do something along those lines eventually, but I didn’t have a product, so I was pretty lost.

What was your first experience like with aerial photography?

IT WAS AMAZING. I was 22, it was the summer after my first year at monmouth, I had only taken entry level film & photo classes at that point, but my boyfriend took me up in a doors-off helicopter in Miami where we spent a lot of time, and it was SO beautiful. After that experience, I don’t think I would ever use a drone (I never have). I just feel like there is something about being up there that you can’t convey with a drone.

When you take your photos you hang out of a helicopter, what is that experience like?

It’s probably the most relaxing and happiest feeling I’ve ever experienced. I think as an art student starting out, or even just anyone creative, maybe even just anyone in general, you’re always hoping for that moment when you feel like you’re really in your element doing what you’re supposed to be doing, and that’s how it feels for me. I honestly don’t even realize that I’m dangling 1,000 feet above the ocean, strapped in by a seatbelt that pretty much looks like a normal car seatbelt. Actually, on my last flight, I knocked my seatbelt clasp undone with my camera and was so concerned with getting a shot of convention hall in that instant that I didn’t even care. Meanwhile, my pilot was freaking out. It’s also REALLY windy. If you stick your camera lens too far out, it feels like it’s getting ripped out of your hands, which is frustrating because that’s usually how I get my favorite shots. So, I’m constantly sticking my head out really far for like five seconds before the wind whips my headphones off.

Who is someone you look up to?

Literally every single female business owner I’ve ever come across. We have to wear so many hats and work twice as hard. I have so much respect and admiration for anyone, women especially, who are willing to take a risk on themselves.

Of course you find inspiration from the beach but what else inspires you?

Paintings, especially abstract paintings. I follow SO many instagram accounts of abstract artists. I think it inspires me most because it’s ideally what I always wanted to do, but I haven’t picked up a paintbrush (other than to photograph one) in years. I think I also love the idea that someone can paint a feeling. It’s almost like it’s the opposite of a photograph.

What do you like to photograph aside from the shoreline?

I actually really enjoy still life studio work. I did a series on paintbrushes dripping paint my senior year of college and it was SO fun. It’s such a controlled environment in the lighting studio, especially with still life objects, it’s like the complete opposite of hanging out of a helicopter getting as much as I can in a short amount of time. I spent DAYS in the studio trying to get one perfect shot. It was really awesome and eventually I would love to get back into a studio setting.

From your website you travel a lot for your work, what was your favorite place to shoot to date?

That’s such a hard decision. I love Miami because it’s just my favorite city in general and I find the colors so inspiring when I’m walking down the beach or down Collins ave, and to see all the umbrellas in such a precise order while you’re in the sky, i’ts very satisfying. It was also my first place I ever shot, and I returned to reshoot it this past winter and it was really fun to cover the same place and try to see it with new eyes.

Puerto Rico was also AMAZING because my flight was over two hours long and we covered SO much land ( I usually only shoot for about 20 minutes). I loved the variations in the coastline, the surfers in the water, the old colorful homes. It was gorgeous.

What advice do you have for someone who is interested in the photography field?

FOCUS (pun intended). I feel like everyone thinks they can take pictures, and if you study photography, you have to learn how to shoot so many different subjects and in so many different ways and it can just get so overwhelming. I think once you’ve tested the waters in different areas, if you really concentrate on one thing, you’ll eventually develop a style, and then you can branch off a little from there. It’s important to have your thing, especially today, with social media, if you want to be recognized, you have to be recognizable. People should have a way of associating you with something specific, at least at first.

If you could do it all over again what’s one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

That it is going to be FINE. I was so lost and so frustrated when I was taking art classes at Brookdale. I always felt like I needed to have this breakthrough and find my niche and it REALLY overwhelmed me. If I knew that in a few years I would be living on my own with my puppy and running a business from home, I DEFINITELY would have chilled out a little bit.

How has Babes in Business helped you?

Just knowing there are women around me that are hustling and struggling, and loving it, just like I am, inspires me to keep doing what I do every day. I’ve met so many great women at the events/ through social media . It’s so nice to have a community of like-minded people to be able to go to with questions/bounce ideas off of, especially for someone who works from home most of the time. I love how supportive all the “babes” are of each other. I can’t say enough great things about what these women are doing and the community that they’ve formed!

I am now back at school, once again bidding the Jersey Shore farewell. But this semester, thanks to Chloe, I was able to bring a little piece of home back with me. Writing this now I can see her print hanging on my wall reminding me not only of home and the people there waiting for me, but the genuine conversations I had with her.

“I never want to go back to work again”. To me, hearing Chloe say that is inspiring. Chloe's attitude towards her job is something I think many strive for including myself. For Chloe her career isn’t a chore. Taking photos of the places she loves is a passion and allows her creativity to bring happiness to not merely herself, but also her customers. Chloe sells sunshine and summer all year round.

Want to see more of Chloe's work?

Instagram: @claudiachloe

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