Texas born-and-raised visual artist, Sanetra Nere Longno, strives to create work inspired by compelling life stories. As a producer, photographer, model, and small-business owner; she has both redefined and challenged what it means to be a multi-dimensional artist. Read Sanetra's amazing story
Photo Credits: Sanetra Longno
Can you introduce yourself - tell us more about who you are, where you’re from, and what you do?
My name is Sanetra Longno and I'm an Afro-Latina based in Austin, Texas who enjoys capturing true beauty through my lens and gathering people together. I'm a local Photographer, Video Producer, Model/Actress, and I also own a sustainable brand called Unravel Co. Unravel Co. is focused on sustaining traditional craftsmanship and supporting the next generations to come. A few things that keep me going in life are prayer throughout the day, bouldering, longboarding, cycling, exploring new places, reading a good book, spending time with family and friends, watching Korean Dramas, listening to mystery podcasts, and walking along the beach. Trust me, this list can go on. Aside from all that, I also love spoiling my cat babies and my house plants thriving around our home with my husband.
Tell us about your creative journey and how you landed on photography.
I honestly didn't realize photography was something I had an interest in until I took it as a prerequisite in college. At the time, my professor encouraged me to continue pursuing the art field, but I was studying for a fashion degree and modeling. I placed it on the shelf until I met my now-husband. He noticed my skills and motivated me by gifting me a camera since I constantly used his. I haven't stopped ever since. At first, it was just a hobby. I would reach out to businesses and my friends to take pictures. It wasn't until recently when my photography career has exceeded more than I could ever imagine.
Now that I can look back and see the work God has done since Covid-19 began, I'm very grateful how He showed me an interest I never knew I had. Fashion photography had my heart, but family portraits were highly demanded during the pandemic. That's when I realized, "Oh my goodness this is it!" Photographing mothers and their children is a new journey I've bestowed upon. A journey He revealed to me and is now becoming a book I started working on at the beginning of 2021. I had prayed asking God to reveal to me what this book would be about because I had no idea until I did one photoshoot of my friend and her young daughter. It was so magical!
How would you describe your photography style, and what inspires you?
My photography style is lively, colorful, natural with boldness that provokes an emotion from within — a feeling of realness and comfort. I try to avoid capturing forced posing and rely more on natural movement and candid moments. I've learned to give one direct action at a time and allow the talent or subject to freely flow into the action and go from there.
The things that inspire me the most are nature, locations I pass by, testimonies, and music. All of these things develop visuals in my head unknowingly and I jot them down or put together a Pinterest board to go back to when I'm stuck.
Yes, a mother and daughter series. I don't necessarily have a name for it yet, but it's a photo series documenting the definition of love through the innate connection between a mother and their children. I started in February of 2021 and plan to photograph families for the next year and a half before publishing my first book. We're hoping to start a crowdfunding campaign later this year to get everyone in the know. The idea rooted from having trouble finding beautifully aesthetic images of brown families on Pinterest. I was also encouraged by a good friend of mine, Ruvarashe, who didn't have an interest in purchasing books she couldn't relate to, so that's when I knew I have to do this. You can follow along on my Instagrams and soon, the campaign.
Aside from admiring your work, we also admire how transparent you are about your faith. Could you tell us more about your faith and how it's influenced you?
Thank you for that. I get my boldness from my family, most definitely. Also, I'm an open book and my faith is one of the things I freely share. What we live can be a stepping stone for another. My relationship with the Lord began in my mid-20's after leaving a toxic relationship and marrying myself and our Father for a change. I met my husband sometime after.
Being an entrepreneur has really strengthened my faith in many ways because work isn't promised like a 9-5 job. You have to rely on Him knowing things are going to come. A daily test of faith with the expectations that he'll provide all of our needs as we continue to sow and nurture the seeds. Also, the creative industries can be really dark most of the time, so I try my best to be the light for those who can't see what he sees.
What piece of encouragement or advice would you share with women pursuing all that God has put on their hearts to do?
Also, you don't want to embark on the journey of life alone. Build a community that uplifts and supports you. It's the only way: "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and had no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecc 4:9-12
What is your life verse or words you live by?
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me Phil 4:13 My favorite.