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How I’m Getting By: Photographer Spencer Pablo

Photo: Spencer Pablo

How I’m Getting By is a new series that checks in with inspiring people in the community to find out how they’re managing in a COVID-19 world. Spencer Pablo is a southern California based photographer and the mind behind @howeverchubby, an Instagram page featuring his images of traditionally under-represented plus size men. Spencer talked to us about how he’s getting through the pandemic.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your day to day?
Like so many others around the world, this pandemic and the resulting precautions have upended my life. Every facet—from work, to school, to eating and recreation [has been affected]. We’ve had to rip our offices apart at work and bring things home, finding places that work for us.

Beyond that, I now have to play the role of an academic teacher and disciplinarian for my daughter. Luckily she’s been pretty good, but I won’t rule out transferring her out of my class (ha! Just kidding). I know I’m not alone—we’re all adjusting to the new normal. We’re all in this together.

Spencer Pablo

How are you keeping busy through the quarantine?
Oddly enough, I’ve found myself busier now that I am working from home. Since my temporary office table/dining table looks out over my backyard, when I am done with my conference calls, I end up pulling weeds.

Today, for my lunch break, I installed a new garage door bottom seal. Also, since my work connection is now active from home, I end up working all hours of the night and day. This is bad. I think I’ll find a happy medium soon. I have to. Finding that work/life balance was important before. Now it’s critically important.

Are there any movies, TV, books, etc that you’d recommend people check out?
To keep us entertained, my family has been watching a bunch of Disney+ (especially as they have Frozen II, Zombies, and the upcoming Onward movie). I also like learning more photography and video techniques, so I’ve got YouTube for that.

My family is lucky enough to have a decent sized yard that we can lay out and get some vitamin D. I have found myself looking at cloud shapes with my daughter — like I used to when I was a kid. We’ve also been doing hikes while maintaining social distancing.

All my photography jobs and workshops through the next several months have been cancelled, so I am filling that time by recording some tutorials. I started with mobile editing photos and have moved to teaching fundamentals like aperture and different lighting techniques. I have a bunch of these tutorials on my IGTV videos on my @howeverchubby instagram account and am open to creating a bunch more if people have questions.

BONUS: Read Spencer Pablo’s article, The Chubstr Guide to Taking Better Selfies and learn what you should (and shouldn’t) be doing when taking photos of yourself.

What advice would you give people who are stuck at home right now?
I know these are stressful times. We’re in this together. Keep your cool and understand that everyone in your household is also experiencing the same stress. I just saw that someone has a big-person yoga video on YouTube and someone else has made a stretching and breathing video.

This might be a good time to hit those home DIY repairs you’ve been meaning to do for a while (hence the garage door seal). Also, take advantage of this time to venture into your creative space. A photographer put out a challenge to kids to try taking pictures of their toys and submit the photos to be included in a video.

It’s pretty neat to see this world coming up with ways to nurture creativity with limited resources. Also, this is the time to call your mom. For real this time.

Learn more about Spencer and his work at his website, Spencer Pablo Photography.