A thousand words
A chat with Kav Dadfar
London-based travel photographer Kav Dadfar’s eye for colour and composition – inspired by the world of advertising – has seen him forge an exciting career in which he’s travelled the globe. We caught up with him to talk about his favourite destinations, experiences and dreams for the future.
Where are you from and where do you live?
I’m originally from Iran, but I have grown up in London since I was very young. I now live in Surrey, a leafy suburb of London.
How long have you been a professional photographer?
For five years now. Prior to going pro, I juggled it with my job as an art director in the world of advertising.
How did you first get into photography?
As I was studying art direction and information design, photography was a mandatory part of my course. This was before digital photography became widespread so I had to learn using film and developing in a dark room.
Where are you now and what are you shooting?
I’m currently in London working on a project for robertharding.com on photographing – in my opinion – the best city in the world, London. After this, I’m planning a trip to somewhere in South America. I haven’t decided between Venezuela or Colombia.
What are your favourite destinations and subjects to photograph?
Believe it or not my favourite country to photograph is the USA. I have travelled around the US extensively and around ten years ago spent three months on a road trip across America. I fell in love with it and I think at last count I had visited 37 states. This will be the first year in a while that I haven’t been there.
I love photos that tell a story. Whether that is a lone hiker in the wild or a local market vendor making a sale, I love capturing those moments that a photograph ‘is worth a thousand words’.
How would you describe your style?
I think my style is derived from my background in art direction and design and so tends to be very carefully constructed compositions with lots of colour.
Can you recall a favourite experience on your travels?
It’s difficult to name just one, but I was recently in Big Bend National Park in Texas, photographing by the Rio Grande river which is the natural border between the USA and Mexico. I had been waiting at the spot for around an hour for the light to change when a local Mexican man who had just walked across the river from Mexico came and sat next to me to keep me company. I offered him a can of Coca Cola and we began talking and he told me all about his life and family in Mexico. It just highlighted to me how lucky us travel photographers are to have these sort of experiences.
Can you recall a particularly challenging experience while taking photos/travelling?
A couple of years ago I was photographing in Orkney Islands and ventured out to a lookout point on the coast based on the advice of a local who told me it was a 15 minute walk. Having got there after an hour and a half I had a small window to take photos before heading back along a cliff path in near pitch black as I hadn’t come prepared with a torch. Using the lit up display of an old phone and walking incredibly slowly I made sure I stayed on the path.
What cameras and equipment do you use? Do you have a favourite piece of equipment?
I use Canon cameras and lenses. My favourite equipment is probably my tripod as not only has it helped me capture great photos but it has helped me numerous times from falling over on slippery rocks.
What are your tips for taking a good photo?
My biggest advice is to be patient and really spend time looking and thinking before clicking away. I find it incredible how often I see people turn up to a destination take a couple of photos and head off.
What advice would you give for young photographers starting out?
Develop a thick skin and more importantly be willing to work hard.
What are your future plans?
I would love to one day publish my own travel magazine. Whether that happens is a different story.
See more stock travel photos by Kav Dadfar