We had the good fortune of connecting with Yasmin Tajik and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yasmin, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
My favorite quote is: “Come to the edge,” he said. “We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded. “Come to the edge,” he said. “We can’t, We will fall!” they responded. “Come to the edge,” he said. And so they came. And he pushed them. And they flew.” ― Guillaume Apollinaire I love this quote, because we all face fears, and sometimes it is that fear that blinds us to opportunity. Many times others see potential in us, and they can encourage us and inspire us, but it is up to use to take those steps forward, as scary as they may be. More often than not, that is really when we see success, bounty, or achieve something we had only dreamed of. We all have someone in our circle that is rooting for us, and as uncomfortable or scary as it may be, they are supporting us to step up, step forward, and fly.
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 started my photography business 11 years ago in Las Vegas. Photography had been a long-time hobby of mine, and it wasn’t until I received my MBA that I seriously pursued photography and thought about opening a business. I first started a retail photography business, Shalimar Studios, which catered to the South Asian community in Las Vegas. Being of Pakistani descent, these were people just like me and my family, so there was an ease of connecting to that clientele having a deep understanding of cultural aspects, and traditions. It wasn’t until about 6 years ago that I transitioned and felt a need to do more advocacy work with my photography, and started a new niche of documentary photography. Similar to National Geographic, documentary photography is long-form storytelling on 1 subject, taking a significant amount of research ahead of time to find a topic and become fully knowledgable of it, before even stepping into the field to photograph it. This type of photography spoke to me so deeply, as I utilize my documentary storytelling to share stories on humanitarian issues and social causes, such as gender equality, asylum seekers, refugee resettlement, and more. A little over 2 years ago I added aerial photography and videography into my business with the purchase of a drone. The drone has allowed me to set myself apart from other photographers as I can capture both motion and stills, and from a unique and impactful perspective.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I LOVE living in Arizona, and feel lucky to have visited since a teenager before moving here 2.5 years ago. What I would want to share with any visitor, are the amazing health-oriented restaurants such as True Food, Sumo Maya, and Herb Box. These are my top 3 recommendations for anyone local or visitor. For sights I would take them to walk around Old Town to see the galleries and boutiques, and get a great sense of what life in the Southwest is like. The Desert Botanical Garden is always a hit with visitors as well. I’m always learning something new when I go there. I think they do a beautiful job showcasing all the different types of cactus and desert landscaping and how it contributes to our unique climate. For fun, I think one of our best features is the abundance of outdoor patios and gathers spots. There is something so fun and relaxing about sitting outside for a meal and into the evening, enjoying delicious food, great company, and unbeatable desert sunsets that we have here. I live in Fountain Hills so a trip down to the fountain is a must-see. That walk around the lake is so peaceful and seeing the community coming out for walks and picnics with their families and pets is heartwarming and speaks to the community-focused vibe that we naturally exude. I would also take them for a drive around the Salt River to see the scenery, look for wild horses, and possible spend some time out on one of our lakes.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am very thankful to my parents whom have supported this journey of mine. They were the first where I learned hard work, dedication, being educated and prepared. They continue to be my biggest cheerleaders, but also those I can go to for sound advice and direction. Second, I want to thank Arica Dorff, a fellow photographer who took me under her wing when I knew very little about photography. I worked for her at her boutique studio and felt I had my own personal photography mentor. She really took an interest in teaching me and answering any and all of my questions. Working for her also gave me a great starting point of learning how to run a boutique business to high-end clientele. Lastly I want to thank Todd Mowen for being my drone mentor, taking the time to teach me about drones, how to use them, and standing next to me when I was unsure of myself. He has inspired me to push myself and try new things with my drone, even when I was scared. All three of these people have been instrumental in my growth and taking large steps forward in my business.
All photographs are copyrighted by me.