We had the good fortune of connecting with Bader Howar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bader, how do you define success?
“Success” is a funny word. I think of my parents back in the days of grown up cocktail parties where small talk always revolved around a strong drink and litany of questions regarding one’s current goals and achievements. That generation loved to exchange competitive success stories of their offspring. So if I happened to overhear my father boasting proudly of my accomplishments then I gleefully felt like I had obtained success. Not that I craved or depended on his absolute approval, but that feather in my cap felt good and he seemed pleased that his investment in my education had paid off. Not always an easy feat when you are in a creative field. Nowadays, I would characterize success as anything that gets you excited to jump start your day with enthusiasm. If you feel good when you plant your two feet on the ground each morning then you are definitely doing something right! Also, before there were Google and Yelp searches professionals relied on word of mouth. It was a strong and powerful tool. When your phone rang off the hook with bookings primarily through personal recommendations that felt like success. When people recognize your name and comment that they have heard great things about you and your work that truly indicates a personal triumph. Financial success is a definite perk, but that alone does not feed my personal sense of satisfaction. If I can continue to mingle creativity and autonomy with my career as a photographer then I’m sitting in my happy place. As a single working mother there is always a balancing act between your work, making money and being the best mom possible.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a portrait photographer I consider myself to be a creative craftsmen. Photography is a highly technical skill, but requires the ability to be completely spontaneous and live in the moment, yet be keen aware of your subject’s behavior and emotions. You never know where the next curve ball is coming from. A photo session can make even the most confident professional feel insecure so it’s really up to me to take the reins and guide my subjects to a comfortable place where they can come out and play. Trust is key and timing must be precise. I was a tv and film actor who always took photos as a hobby and minored in photography in college. When I first moved to LA from NYC, I worked at a top Hollywood photo lab running the front of house and doing photo finishing work for established shooters. I would take shots of my actor friends for fun and suddenly their agents started sending me new clients and, before I knew it, I had a new career. That was an easy transition and I was fortunate be constantly booked and working. The challenge came with the digital revolution when photography was no longer an exclusive and expensive specialized profession. It became extremely accessible with digital cameras and cellphones and suddenly everyone was a photographer or an Instagram shooter. This really forced me to focus on my skills and rely on my years of experience in the field to keep my attitude and style fresh and contemporary. I truly believe that my duel experiences between acting and photography have provided me with an ever deepening instinct for knowing precisely when and how to zero the lens into that illusive but essential certain something in the eyes of my subjects. This unerring ability to delve beneath the surface for one’s true strength and essence is what constitutes my personal brand
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a beach girl. I’ve been playing two man beach volleyball for the past 25 years. My local Santa Monica beach volleyball community is a tight knit family where age nor profession matter as much as your game or attitude in the sand. I play at several beaches each with its own distinct personality and players of all description. We intermingle on and off the courts celebrating birthdays weddings and funerals. Our coolers are always brimming with cold beer and margarita fixings while our Pandora is set to Cali Reggae groves. Any visitor of mine must experience my beach life with all of it’s fabulous eye candy. I’m a foodie and obsessed with Kazu Nori for their famed Sugar Fish hand rolls. Breakfast at Schoops on Main Street for their house smoked salmon and banana pancakes is a must! If I’m splurging then any of the Rustic Canyon Group’s restaurants or Gjelena on Abbot Kinney hits home. But food aside, who doesn’t love live music at the Hollywood Bowl or an afternoon at the Getty. Drinks at Yamashiro or the Magic Castle for a show. Back closer to home in Santa Monica I’m a huge fan of Wednesday nights at Harvel’s to listen and dance to House of Vibe. LA’s farmer’s markets are a must see as well as the infinite choice of hikes in our local mountains, the crystal shop in Topanga, the hidden steps of Santa Monica Canyon and the sunset over Point Dume!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My dear and most talented friend and fellow photographer, Kristina Loggia, was my roommate many moons ago and convinced me to turn our funky Hollywood Hills dining room into a photo studio so that we could practice taking headshots of our out of work actor friends (many of whom went on to become wildly famous). She encouraged me to always look at life’s simple moments through the eyes of a lens and rediscover my love for photography after taking a break from shooting post college. Those days ignited my passion for portraiture and helped me develop the much needed people skills to fearlessly direct, observe, and capture my subjects.