Red Raven Studios, inside Hatch Street New Bedford, photograph all

NEW BEDFORD – It doesn’t matter if you’re a model or not, an experienced artist or a novice or what shape or size you might be – Red Raven Studios at Hatch Street Studios wants to help anyone’s creative idea come to life.

“There’s this feeling of creating something together that someone is going to appreciate and can look at in a year or 10 years and say, ‘Wow, that’s really cool,'” said Gregg Snider, co-owner of the studio as as well as Wonderllama Photo.

“If you have an idea, chances are we can make it happen.”

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Snider, along with his co-owners Christian Sherman and Val Vacious have collaborated for years on photography projects with the dream of opening their own studio.

In September 2020, a space at Hatch Street Studios turned out to be “the right place at the right time at the right price,” Snider said.

Since then, the three have worked with models to shoot both personal and professional photos – mostly with a mystical, horror or fantasy element attached.

“We have a pretty broad skill set. We’re all photographers,” Snider said. “Christian is a set designer and prop builder…We tend to be more costume or concept oriented.”

Inside the Red River Studio

The space is divided between a few different sets at any given time. They rotate every few months. There are always shelves full of light stands, light modifiers, strobes, multiple accessories to choose from, and costume racks to wear.

The team built sets such as a coffin, a colorful Pop Art-style six-foot-tall ice cream cone, and a “Beetlejuice”-inspired set based on the “haunting wedding scene” with the fireplace monstrous.

Snider says they’ve never turned down an idea unless it wasn’t practical for the space and couldn’t be used for other things. “I’m not a big fan of buying something once, using it and throwing it away,” he said.

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They also do boudoir photography sessions such as a risque Valentine’s Day theme or a model served for dinner – on a set based on the NBC series “Hannibal.”

However, Snider is quick to say that there is a “big gap between” implied nudity and pornography. “It’s not our wheelhouse,” he added.

“The models actually aren’t nude at all and we mostly shoot with people we tend to know.”

A photo taken at Red River Studio by co-owner Gregg Snider.

Snider, who grew up in Newton, said he’s been taking pictures since his father gave him his first camera on his 13th birthday. His grandfather, uncle and father are all portrait and landscape photographers.

However, Snider put it all on hold to pursue a career in information technology. Then, about eight years ago, when he was invited to take pictures at a local Comic-Con, he fell in love with the art all over again.

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Since then he has done real estate photography, traditional and corporate portraits and personal photography. “I much prefer stuff where someone comes to us with an idea,” he admitted.

Work with any level of experience

Snider says their ethos at the studio is all about body positivity and working with the full spectrum of bodies. “That’s a big part of why I like photographing people, as opposed to mountains or buildings or cars,” he said. “There’s this sense of collaboration.”

Snider said his team works with several clients who are newer to modeling or who may have no experience with a professional photo shoot.

“We help them overcome the fear of being in front of a camera for the first time with all the lights everywhere. It’s very different from taking a selfie at home,” he said.

“These are people who have fun ideas and want to do things.”

A photo taken at Red River Studio by co-owner Val Vacious.

Red Raven Studios has participated in charitable events such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They will offer photo booths at Rhode Island Comic Con or Monster Comic Con with narrative settings like “The Simpson” lounge or a zombie hospital.

Snider said he enjoys helping people feel confident and empowered in what they do and helping them put their nerves aside. “At the end when it’s hugs and smiles and everyone’s happy,” he said.

“It’s a great feeling. I love it.”

Standard-Times editor Seth Chitwood can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.

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