Navid Baraty Interview
What is your methodology for planning the perfect shoot during your travels?
Before I travel anywhere, I do a lot of research on the particular location that I’m headed to. If possible, I try to plan my trip to coincide with something special event or occurrence that’s happening there.
I do a lot of time looking at photos that others have taken there. It’s not only a way for me to find stuff that I definitely want to shoot while I’m there, but it’s also a way for me to see what types of shots I should avoid, i.e. what has been overdone and become cliché. I like to try to come up with new and sort of unexpected way or angle of shooting a subject.
Once I’m there, I like to sort of lose myself in the place. I wander down side roads and alleys, I observe the locals and their interactions, I try to steer clear of the crowds and go off the beaten paths. I try to just get in tune with the rhythm of a place, as if I live there myself.
What advice can you give emerging artists for approaching potential clients?
I don’t really consider myself in a position to give advice, as I could also use same advice. I’m trying to just send out my work to as many potential clients as I can, keep shooting things that I’m passionate about, and never say no to anything that comes up. You never know what will come from any shoot. It may lead to unexpected contacts, future work, or you may even discover a new idea or style that you find yourself really enjoying that you’d never considered.
How do you stay focused and maintain your artistic vision when working with high profile clients?
When I’m taking photos, I’m able to just tune out the rest of the world entirely and focus my mind. It doesn’t matter if I’m out leisurely wandering around New York, if I’m shooting while traveling, or if I’m doing a shoot for a client. I get in a zone when I’m taking photos and nothing else matters to me when I’m behind the camera. Photography is really like a walking meditation for me, and it really is one of the things that I absolutely love about it.
How did you break into the international market? What are some of the lessons learned?
The key is really just getting your work out there and getting exposure. If you put a lot of work and passion into your art, it’s going to show. Then you start marketing yourself and getting your work out there, and people start to notice. One thing leads to the next.
Being a self-taught artist, do you think that it is better to be the latter or traditionally trained in school? Why?
I really don’t think that there is a “better” way. I think it all depends on the person and how much they really want it. I know of so many incredible photographers that have never had a class in photography. Being traditionally trained is not a requirement to being a great photographer. So much of photography is really natural talent, patience, and experimentation. A school can’t teach you to find what drives and excites you as a photographer.
The internet allows artists to market their work to the masses with little or no cost. Has living in a large artistic hub like New York helped further your career? What are some of the advantages?
Absolutely. Surrounding yourself and collaborating with creative people can only lead to good things for you. As an artist you can thrive off of the energy of the city, and get inspiration from the many other creatives that you meet at events, parties, etc. Because New York is filled with so many creatives, agencies, galleries, publications, etc, if you’re already local, you become even more appealing to those people and it only increases your chances of being hired.
One of the incredible things about living here is that when you go out to shoot, you never know who you might run into. I’ve learned to never leave home without my business cards. I often find myself still unable to believe that I’m actually living in New York and pursuing my artistic passion as I’m walking around Manhattan.
What are some of the online tools or websites that you feel are essential for you to work with and why?
Both Flickr and Behance.net are an integral part of my life. I’ve had many clients contact me through both. I try to upload low-res (never hi-res) versions of my images to both. On flickr I tag as much as possible, because you never know who will be searching for what. On Behance, it’s a little different because it forces you to sort of think about your work as separate projects. I personally really like that. They’ve featured a few of my projects, and you can get some great exposure from being featured. Along with great exposure it’s also an incredible place where you can discover any genre of art, all in one site. You can search and filter by genre, location, artist, etc… something that flickr really lacks.
I also regularly use my facebook fan page and twitter to promote my work and keep others updated about my news and happenings.
Navid Baraty is a completely self-taught photographer whose work has been internationally published and exhibited. After receiving a degree in engineering, Navid’s creative vision led him from Ohio to San Francisco, where he was a web developer and freelance photographer for nearly four years. He has recently moved from San Francisco to New York City to further pursue his artistic passion. A selection of clients and publications include National Geographic, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, Modern Luxury Media, Getty Images, and California College of the Arts.