Inspiration for Young Artists, by Pamira Bezmen, New Jersey Newborn, Baby & Family Photographer
Hello Young Artists!
I am Pamira, the owner and chief photographer of Pamira Bezmen Photography. I am a portrait artist, which means I make artistic portrait images of people.
I am the mother of an amazing 2.5 year old baby girl, and I consider myself a very, very lucky person who is blessed to be doing what she loves for a living.
My friend Dianna asked me to share my story about how I became a photographer and how one can have a life full of art even as one grows older.
I am happy to tell you about how I ended up as a professional photographer, and how I ended up turning my passion into my job.
I want to start by saying this:
One of the most wonderful things about doing a job you LOVE is that you can feel butterflies in your tummy every time you go to work. It's like being in love, or watching your own seedlings grow into delicious tomatoes, or jumping into the ocean on a warm summer day. Or like adopting a puppy from a shelter and bringing him home for the first time. It truly feels like all of the above, and much, much more! :)
Every time I book a new portrait session I feel like it's my first time! I get new ideas and feel great joy! Even though I have years of experience, it feels fresh and exciting every single time because art is a journey. One can always get better, learn new techniques, and discover new ways of making art. One also finds an inner peace when doing art. It's like meditating while being productive and creating beauty. One can also use art to spread love to those around him or her. To me, every day is MAGICAL!
If you love art, I congratulate and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Because I believe that you will not only bring beauty into your own life through art, but you will also make the lives of others better, happier, and more full of love.
Here is my story:
I, like you, was a child who loved art. My mother and both grandmothers were artists. My father was a businessman who loved photography.
As a result, my brother and I grew up surrounded by art – always painting, going to the theater, listening to classical music and opera. Our dad showed us how to handle a camera properly when we were very little and allowed us to use his camera.
Unfortunately, we grew up in a school system where the curriculum did not encourage art.
However, with our family’s support, we managed to make time for art. We studied hard at school, and in our spare time we chose to do the artistic activities we loved. As soon as we were home from school we’d be painting and drawing, or writing a play and acting in front of our parents and grandparents. I was always taking photographs during the holidays.
When in high school, I discovered theater and began taking acting classes. I got permission from my parents for modeling professionally, and before I knew it I was acting in commercials and TV shows.
I think each of us has more than one talent and one passion in life, and our passions may change over time, or we may develop new talents along the way. I think the important thing is to always be honest with ourselves and allow ourselves plenty of opportunities to learn and grow.
Sometimes we make mistakes, but if we learn from them, they help us get better.
I tried myself in acting, but decided to go to college to study History. Then I became interested in business and got my masters degree in Marketing and Economics. Then, you may say I became a boring adult and went to an office every day for over 10 years, doing business. I also loved business life. It was interesting and fun finding solutions to important problems, helping people, and traveling the world.
When I got home from work, I would put on some classical music and take out my canvas and paint at night. On the weekends I would grab my camera and go for a nature hike, taking pictures of trees, lakes, mushrooms, ducks, and anything I could photograph. I would even take my camera on my business trips and take hundreds of photos of people and places I saw around the world: in China, Philippines, Singapore, Australia, England, France, Germany, Turkey, Ireland, and more...
Then I hit a point where I felt like I needed to do better. I knew there were ways of using the light and manual camera settings to make even better images, but I just didn't know how. I was determined to learn, so I bought many books and magazines on photography and spent hours reading and practicing my new skills.
When I felt like I wanted to advance my photography even further, I took photography classes in the evenings at ICP (International School of Photography in New York) and bought myself a better camera.
It was the best of both worlds for me. I was a business woman by day, and I made enough money to add more art into my life. I could buy the tools that I needed for painting and photography, and I could go to the opera, musicals, the ballet and classical music concerts to watch live performances. It was wonderful!
Over time, I got so much satisfaction from photography that it became my primary artistic outlet. I loved how I could capture the beauty of people, especially babies, children and families.
I feel that everyone is perfect and beautiful in his or her own way. A photograph is a form of art to capture this beauty and make it last forever.
In 2011, I had my baby. The moment I had her, I knew that I wanted to share every single moment with her and be there to teach her and to learn life from her. I did not want to go back to an office job. I also developed an even bigger love for photographing babies and families. Now I knew the real importance of capturing those moments. Our babies, our most precious gifts in life, grow very fast. Capturing their magic when they are little is very important to me.
I want my daughter to grow up knowing how much she was loved, and seeing what we all looked like when she was little. I want to do the same for other families by making beautiful photographs of their family that they can hang on their walls or have in albums to enjoy for many, many years.
Imagine, when you are all 30 or 40 years old, you will still have these albums, and you will see how cute you were when you were little, how beautiful mommy was and how handsome daddy was... and how much your family adored you. You will be proud to show these photographs to your friends, partners and your own children some day.
This is my passion! I could not imagine doing any other job!
To me a life without art would be like an ocean without fish - unimaginable, meaningless and boring :(
Art allows us to bring out the love from our hearts and reach other people, even those that we haven’t met in person.
There are many ways of living a life full of art. It does not have to be a full time job; it can be a part of your life as a hobby or as a spectator.
I hope that you will each find your own way to hold on to your artistic passions. With art, there are no rules. Just follow your heart, and you will know all the answers.
A photo slideshow by Pamira:
I hope you enjoyed the story above. If you have any questions for me or would like to find out more about my work, please feel free to send me an e-mail at [email protected] or visit my web-site at www.pamirabezmenphotography.com.
Dear Young Artists,
Many thanks for your thoughtful questions. Please see my answers below:
Q: If you had to photograph a famous football player's baby how would you plan it?
A: I would plan it like I plan all my sessions. I speak with the mother or father or both and learn about their lifestyle, their taste, and preferences. I ask them about their passions and hobbies and the colors and themes they like and don't like. Then I try to incorporate appropriate elements into the images.
Here is an image I took for a Mom and Dad who were football fans, and they wanted to incorporate their autographed jerseys and mascots into one of the images. This is what I did for their 3 day old son:
Q: Have you ever made movies?
A: Yes. I made a movie when I was 11 years old. I had a very small part in it and it was not my best acting job, but it gave me courage to further explore acting.
I later made some TV shows when I was in college.
Q: How do you get people to want to get pictures taken?
A: Usually people hire me if they have already decided they want or need photographs. Sometimes it is the Mother who wants the images and the Father comes along hesitantly. Or they want images of the Baby but they don't find themselves pretty, and they want to be left out. In this case, I explain to them the importance of leaving loving memories for their children. Regardless of how much we want to be in the pictures or how pretty we feel that day, these images will be priceless in 10, 20, 30 years. And one thing is for sure, Moms are always beautiful and Dads are always handsome. Whether they feel it or not. I convince them, we take these images for our children and grandchildren. It usually helps.
I also use relaxation techniques for shy or stressed clients. This is more common for my professional clients who are business owners or public figures. I use breathing techniques and try to help them relax. It helps their genuine personality come through when they are not feeling self conscious or stressed.
Q: If I was a photographer I would take pictures of people dressed as crazy monsters and crazy things. Have you ever taken crazy pictures?
A: That is very creative and I think you have a true artist inside! :) I think it is always a good idea to explore things out of the ordinary to make images that make people look twice. A pretty face is a pretty face, but sometimes scary, funny, outrageous, extraordinary things make a bigger impact on our viewers. It is a smart thing for an artist to experiment with extraordinary elements.
In my professional family photography work, I try to make classic images that a family will enjoy for generations, that is why I choose not to go extreme on my themes or outfits. But I still add outfits or accessories that people would not use on a daily basis. This makes more memorable images.
For example, I put a top hat on this 5 month old baby. She would obviously never wear a pink top hat with feathers at home, but I think it looks adorable in this image:
With my corporate clients, I create upscale portraits, so there is not a lot of room for craziness.
In my personal time, I sometimes try more moody, risky or fun things. I would definitely encourage you to hold on to your ideas about trying new and different things in all kinds of art.
Q: Where do you get all your supplies?
A: I buy my cameras, lenses, lights etc from professional photographer's stores. B&H in NYC is a favorite shopping place for me.
For my backdrops, blankets, fabrics, baskets and accessories, I shop everywhere: Home stores, discount stores, fabric shops, thrift stores, antique stores, and photographer's stores on the internet. I am always keeping an eye peeled for pretty things, colors to match, and elements I can fit into a theme. I paint an imaginary scene in my head first, and then go looking for the right colors and textures.
I have vendors from all over the world who make little baby outfits for me, handmade soft materials and costumes from the USA, Australia and Europe.
And for the hair pieces, I make a lot of my own hair bands, floral accents and halos.
Q: If you had to take a picture of the Eiffel Tower, what angle would you use?
A: I would probably take a few images. I would take one classic shot from a distance, maybe taken from the river, showing the full size and shape of the tower in its entirety with the surroundings. Then I would take a few shots very close up with a wide angle lens to show the texture of the material and to give a feeling of being "inside".
I would then put these images together in an album or display them side by side on the wall.
Q: Since the babies are really little, how are you able to dress them up and do all the things with them?
A: I handle them like they are my own babies. If any of you have little siblings or remember watching a mother dress and care for a very little baby, you will know exactly what I do. I hold them safely and gently, and I make the room very warm so they don't get cold when I take off their clothes. I am always singing lullabies to them and rocking them while I change them, wrap them, swaddle them. Then they always wake up for milk or to pee or poo, so I ask their Moms to feed them, then I clean them up and go on dressing them for the next set-up. Many times they wake up in the middle of the session and make faces, burp, or move, or throw up or all of the above :) Then I comfort them again and pose them again and wait until they are in a comfortable and cozy position to photograph. As soon as I think they are ready, I grab my camera and click click click.
Woking with babies takes a ton of love and patience and know-how. It is very different than working with adults. You can never tell a baby to look this way or sit like that or be still. They always do what they need to do, and I have learned to do 3 things:
In the end, it is such a joy to capture these images that it is worth all the work.
Pamira Bezmen Photography is a natural and studio light portrait studio that specializes in maternity, newborn, family photography as well as professional portraiture for seniors, models, and professionals. Pamira's work is highly rated by all clients. She creates the highest quality images, along with safe, loving care for your babies, and offers a full selection of professional print products. Pamira's studio is located in Verona, NJ, and she services the New Jersey, New York area. She also shoots in Istanbul, Turkey for part of the year. For availability and information, you can contact her at [email protected]
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