Meero Ambassador Adam Isfendiyar discusses portraiture, his role as ambassador, and unique photo projects
For the past five years, Adam Isfendiyar has been practicing photography professionally, finding his niche in portrait photography, and getting to know people through photos. A year ago, he started his role as Meero Ambassador. We got together with Adam to learn more!
To read more articles with Meero Ambassadors, check out this article about how to practice photography from your own home.
Becoming a Meero Ambassador
Equipped with a Nikon D750, with a 24-120mm or a 50mm f1.4 lens, you’ll find Adam around town, getting to know people and being inspired by their stories. As any photographer can tell you when working full time with a camera, you encounter all types of people, but being truly able to connect with people through photography is what makes Adam such a great Meero ambassador.
“The role of ambassador has been amazing for me. It’s given me a chance to connect with photographers around the country in 4 different cities and to help to support them and their work with Meero.” - Adam Isfendiyar, Meero Ambassador
Part of his role involved setting up photo workshops and bringing together the local community in the UK. Workshops like learning how to shoot dance photography in the studio and friendly social events have been on hold due to the COVID 19 pandemic, but before going into lockdown, Adam had really gotten creative with the community.
“Meero has also supported me in setting up workshops with Walter Rothwell and Drew Forsyth, which were great learning experiences as well as fun social events. I can’t wait to get back out there and continue my work as the UK Ambassador, as I feel very privileged and grateful to be given this opportunity.” - Adam Isfendiyar, Meero Ambassador
Experience in Portrait Photography
Adam started exploring portrait photography right from the start. His spontaneous entry into photography was taking street portraits while traveling in Myanmar. He says it was less about photography and more about the camera giving him a chance to meet with and talk to people that he would otherwise pass by. It was just the beginning for Adam, and he has since continued his practice and developed his skills, and feels as though he is always learning.
© Adam Isfendiyar
Now, years later, he has really defined what he likes to see in portraiture. ‘Authentic’ is the keyword for his style, he likes his portraits to be as natural and as real as possible. Inspired by the work of Arnold Newman and Martin Parr, he is interested in capturing natural expressions that convey something about the inner world of the subject.
He isn’t keen on overly posed photos but recognizes that it is a skill in and of itself.
“My favorite photography makes me think, question, and wonder what is going on or how it was taken. If there is a quality that makes me want to keep going back to it, sometimes because it captures something that I could not have conceived of and I can’t understand why it is so compelling. That is what I like the most.” - Adam Isfendiyar, Meero Ambassador
His tips for taking a good portrait? Slow down, take more photos, and for longer than may seem comfortable, and finally, though it may seem obvious: make sure you’re focusing on the face!
“Just keep practicing and don’t be afraid to get it wrong, or criticize your own work - I do that and I am starting to see that it’s not helpful!” - Adam Isfendiyar, Meero Ambassador
For those wanting to try their hand at portrait photography, Adam says there’s no need to splash out for your first camera.
“Start with anything. I started with a Nikon D3300, an entry-level camera, and shot some of my favorite photos on it. Probably my most widely shared and used photo was shot with that camera.” - Adam Isfendiyar, Meero Ambassador
What he’s up to now
Adam has recently exhibited two projects “Master, An Ainu Story” and “Running Away - A Story of Homelessness (…and Dancing) In Tokyo.” The former has most recently been shown at the ICP Museum in New York and twice in London and once in Stockholm.
Since lockdown began he has been working on ‘London In Lockdown’ - taking portraits of people in their homes, at their front door or in their windows, and getting them to talk about their lockdown experiences. As an extension of the project for VE Day, he created a short series on World War 2 survivors which was picked up by the BBC.
When choosing his subjects, its a roll of the dice. Sometimes he’ll reach out to people through social media and get to know their story which he tries to communicate through photo, and sometimes, as is the case with the lockdown photos, he doesn’t choose his subjects at all. At the end of the day, it’s all about the people, regardless of how the initial contact takes place.
“I use photography as a way for me to explore it and to tell a human story that people can relate to.”
- Adam Isfendiyar
© Adam Isfendiyar