Photographer: Hadi Ansari @hd.photox Model: Caroline Aiko @carolineaikocornell
To begin, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how did you get into the photography world?
My name is Hadi. I live in Portland, Oregon in the US, but was born and raised in Iran. I first started photography in college by taking photos with other people’s cameras, haha! Not kidding, any sort of good camera was too expensive for me at that time and I couldn’t afford that much money for a hobby. So I was always the best friend of whomever had a camera among my friends and family. I was really into taking photos, I remember once I got my first paycheck, I bought a pair of black Nike shoes and a Canon Powershot S5 IS which was great for me for years.
Do you have any formal training in your background?
No, I never had formal training. I started to learn photography through books and magazines, and of course through seeing good photos. The first photography book I read was published in the 70's, before I was born. The book was a black and white print, but in art the basics are the same. These days you may read about composition in photography in a colorful glossy book with shining images, but the concept is the same as that antique book.
What fascinates and motivates you most being a photographer?
To capture the amazing range of love and emotions in people and to tell their stories in my very own version! It’s all about it.
Tell us a bit more about your project. Is there any particular message you would like to get across to the viewers?
Yes, I have never used professional models in my photography, and I never will. I believe the best shots are taken of normal people who may even cringe to stand in front of my camera! Their looks, moves and emotions are real, and I love to show it in my work.
What type of projects are dearest to your heart? Why?
If I find a chance to do more than my portrait projects, I will spend decent time on street photography, facing with random people and taking their candid. To me, portrait photography is all about real life emotions. I love to challenge myself to speak with strangers, exchanging words and laughs and finally capturing their portrait at the moment that we feel each other.
What advice would you give to someone looking at a career in photography?
If you want to become a photographer to be rich or famous, stop here and look for another job. Photography is a journey; you should live it and enjoy every second of it. It is a marathon, not a sprint.
Is there one piece of equipment or prop that you cannot live without?
There is nothing that I can’t live or shoot without, but I always have my 85mm prime lens with me.
How do you use social media in conjunction with your business? What role does it play in your job?
The age of finding a photographer on yellow pages is over, people search for what they want via social media. Having a website is crucial for a professional photographer and it's important, but you get the most visibility on your Instagram page. Some of my clients didn’t have any plan to be photographed, they just saw my pictures and were tempted to have something like those images.
Do you look to other photographers for inspiration, or does your inspiration come from other sources?
Yes, there are a handful of photographers that I follow and am inspired by. If I want to name one, legendary Steve McCurry is one of my top favorites and I always feel inspired by his work, I believe he has created some of the most powerful real-life portraits ever, including the iconic Afghan girl.
How has photography influenced or changed you as a person?
It leads me to always look for new angles when observing the world around me
Where can we see more of your works and get connected with you?
People can see my work on my website: Hadiphotography.com or my Instagram page:@Hd.photox