We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Azarov and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think risk is an inherent part of life and the creative process (although I must admit that I did not always live by that philosophy). When I was growing up, pragmatism was encouraged in my family. My family and I emigrated from Russia when I was 8 years old and my parents worked very hard to rebuild their lives in the US. Although I always loved art and photography, the overall perspective was that you had to build a career that can give you stability in life. So I did. I went to college and studied International Politics, while always maintaining my love and study of photography. It wasn’t until I experienced real loss in my family, that I realized life is way too short not to do what you love. What followed was a whole lot of risks – I quit my job, moved to another country to study photography, came back to NYC and began building a career in photography from scratch, fast forward 8 years and I am operating my own photography studio in Los Angeles. Each part of the process had a new set of risks involved.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a portrait photographer and visual storyteller, but I am also a researcher at heart. My passion in life has been to try to understand the complexities of human personality. I always work closely with the artists to create concepts that not only help give a visual voice to their music, but also push my own boundaries as a photographer. Learning to live in the discomfort of new ideas is what allows me to grow and develop my own voice. Above all what I love most about photography is that it gives me the opportunity to capture a real moment with another human being. It challenges me to capture their essense, their story and what makes them unique and human, in a single image. It’s that opportunity that inspired me to pursue photography in the first place and what continues to push me to grow as an artist.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in the South Bay, so Manhattan Beach is where I love to go every chance I get. And back when life was normal, my favorite thing would be to go to live shows (one of the things I miss most of all during this time).
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First of all, I would like to give a huge thank you to my mentor, Rachel Neville, an incredible world renowned dance photographer who gave me my first real job in the world of professional photography. I spent four years under her wing, learning both what it means to push boundaries, work harder than you ever imagined, build a photography business, run a studio, and on top of it be a mother. Through her dedication to her own craft and her encouragement of my own work, I gained the confidence to go after this giant dream. I also want to thank my husband, who has been my biggest supporter and champion since we decided to uproot our lives and move abroad to pursue our careers. His love and confidence in me gives me the strength to keep pushing everyday. In fact, he is helping to answer these questions because I am so terrible at talking about myself. And of course thank you to all the wonderful artists and companies that have trusted me with their art and allowed me to use my vision to tell their story. Without the support of the music community, I would not able to pursue my dreams.