We had the good fortune of connecting with Zen Berk and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Zen, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is necessary to be successful in this career. I think risk is what helps define your limitations. As an artist I am always afraid of what people might think of my work, but I don’t let that stop me from doing what I love and pushing the limits. I’ve taken photos for friends, work, personal use, and even for competitions. There is definitely pressure knowing that my work could reflect someone in a negative light, so although it’s important to take risks and get the cool, new photo, it is equally important to communicate with the client and provide them what they want. Risk is how I have learned what I am comfortable with, what my clients/friends are comfortable with. When I am given creative freedom, the photos turn out raw and genuine. Even better is when a client is willing to take a risk with me, then the photos turn out unbelieveable. That is the most rewarding feeling. Being an artist in the photography industry is definitely a balancing act between risk-taking, communication, and perseverance, but the feeling of capturing a memory or an emotion for someone makes it all worth it. That image lives forever and can be shown and shared with generations to come.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think my artwork is very unique due to it being natural and authentic. I do not edit a lot of my photos (rarely any) because I love the natural aspect of things. For me, it makes the picture more real and captures it’s true essence! It is definitely hard to work with natural light. Sometimes it’s really bright or way too dark, but if you embrace the light, you can find cool ways to make it work. One of the biggest things I’ve learned along the way, is when doing other people’s photoshoots you can’t always shoot what you want or the way you see it. Sometimes they have a certain idea and want my help to achieve their vision, so it’s hard not to put my own spin on things. Regardless, of how I feel when I am hired to do a shoot, I go above and beyond to give them what they are looking for and typically more.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
First we’re going to Olive and Ivy and getting the pesto chicken pizza, after that we’ll probably make our way to Camelback Mountain and see the views of the city! Next we’ll go to Tempe and show you all the little stores and shops that AZ has to offer. It’s full of many different cultures here and it’s great because you get a little bit of everything! Then, if you’re not too tired, we’ll stop by Shady Park and enjoy some live music and amazing vibes!!!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give a shout out to my friends and family for supporting me. I know that’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s true. I have to give a huge shout out to my mom, because if she didn’t let me use her camera when I was young, we may not be having this conversation . Also, a shout out to all the local and global artists that have and continue to give me inspiration Kyle Scoop, Monserrat Apud De La Fuente, Wyatt Lund, Gilbert Landey and many more artists! Thank you!

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Image Credits
Zen Berk