Monika Ottehenning is a queer photographer, artist and writer based in Los Angeles, California.
Raised as a Mormon girl in the suburban forests of North Carolina, Monika first began her photographic explorations at age twelve by documenting her father’s homeland on a trip to Germany. Upon returning, her love of the camera evolved to capturing teen social life, parties, live music, and the various fashion projects she pursued with her twin sister. She moved West to pursue her interests in the arts, and eventually received a BFA in photography from BYU in Utah while tending to a shattering faith crisis. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles to continue her creative practice and find life after organized religion.
Today, her work is nurtured as an opportunity for people to see themselves with a compassionate, open lens. Her portrait offerings are made to help anyone gain clarity for where they are headed in their personal and creative lives. Her emphasis is not on the photos themselves, but on the experience of creating them together, and working through emotional barriers, stories, and self perceptions that prevent a deeper love of self. Her sessions are full of free expression, sensuality and vulnerability as medicine for the sitter to feel more of who they are and leave with beautiful tokens of their own magic.
With a decade of commercial experience, Monika directs imagery that is rich in color, humanity and play, while building a foundation for those involved in the labor of creation to be fairly compensated and supported for their work. Her practice in empathetic leadership and storytelling lend her work to be heartfelt and collaborative as well as visually vibrant, natural, and real.
When she isn’t tending to clients, Monika likes to express herself through singing, dancing, acting, painting, writing and decorating her home with her two cats. Some of her favorite places to be are in the sentimental European countryside, greeting horses and trees, and walking through acres of green of every shade. She is at home in the water, in the wild, and in the well-loved dwellings of sweethearts.