When you love something so much that you’re willing to put your life at risk, go without sleep for days, and experience family holidays by yourself in pursuit of it, you know you’ve found your passion.
For me, that passion is photography.
From the first time I picked up a camera, I was fascinated by its ability to immortalize my experiences. It all started with sneaking my parents’ film cameras from the mantle above our fireplace and filling the roll with photos from around the neighborhood.
I began to build a passion for documenting my life behind the lens. I captured the skateboarding excursions my friends and I would go on all over Southern California. We’d spend hours on the bus to get to a location for just one shot. I learned from a young age that persistence and taking risks make all the difference in the process of getting the perfect shot.
When I reached the stage of my life where I was forced to make the decision about what to study in college, everyone around me expressed concerns. “Photography and film are too risky” rang through my ears. Regardless of my decision to pursue a degree in business, my passion allowed me to see beyond that and not only pave the way to my future, but also allow me to see what motivation, talent and a dedicated work ethic can produce. If I had to finish my schoolwork weeks in advance to make sure I could feed my wanderlust- fueled vision, then I would do whatever it took to make it happen.
One summer night after my freshman year of college served to be the biggest turning point in my life. I had been inspired by images of downtown Los Angeles from high vantage points and I wanted to go find them for myself. I set out for downtown with childhood friends and stayed out all night, exploring the gritty alleyways, rooftops and everything in between. From that night on I was hooked: all of my focus turned towards trying to create my own style and show people a side of LA they’d never seen before. After climbing every worthwhile roof in the city, I took to the skies of the city in a helicopter for my very first time. A new chapter of my life had begun.
Photography has shown me the difference between being alive and truly living. It has given me a reason to see the world, immerse myself in new cultures, meet new people, and most importantly develop a uniquely distinguishable perspective and aesthetic to my work. When I’m behind the camera, any sense of fear or frustration seems to simply disappear.
From hanging out of a helicopter 2,000 feet above the Canadian Rockies in -50 conditions in December to hiking an active volcano in Bali all night for sunrise to shooting on stage in front of over 70,000 people, the pursuit of the perfect image is what I live for.
I always do whatever it takes to capture every element the destination has to offer in an effort to provide a fresh perspective on what I’m shooting. I find enjoyment in the challenge of extending my style across all subjects rather than focusing on one specialization.
In an effort to expand on my abilities as a creative artist and pursue my passion, I founded 23FIFTN, a full-service creative content agency, with my college soccer teammates. Since the agency’s establishment, we have gone on to create and produce global commercials, music video projects, and creative campaigns for a wide variety of clientele including triple platinum artists and multi-national corporations that have received hundreds of millions of impressions online. 23FIFTN served as a catalyst in my career, and has allowed me to also learn and build myself as a director, cinematographer and photographer.
Over the years I have worked with many different camera systems, none of which stand out as much as the Fujifilm X Series system. Recently, I’ve had the joy of spending time with the X-T2. The sleek design, consistency, dynamic range, and incredible image and 4K video quality are incomparable to anything I’ve shot with.
The durability of Fujifilm’s mirrorless cameras is world class. The X-T2 is not only compact and lightweight, but also dust resistant, water resistant and operable at temperatures as low as -10 C. One of my favorite design aspects is the threedirectional LCD; this makes it much easier to shoot reflections and difficult perspectives that can’t be seen through a viewfinder.
Fujifilm’s FUJINON lenses are also incredibly impressive. Their power and design complement X Series bodies by providing lightning-fast images of superior quality, color and sharpness. The autofocus is speedy, consistent and accurate, allowing me to make the most of every photo opportunity Mother Nature presents.
I officially became a Fujifilm XPhotographer in May of 2016 and haven’t looked back since. In the past several months, my photographic journey has taken me to over 11 countries and 9 states; working with Fujifilm to follow my dreams has been all I could have asked for. I’m very excited to be a part of such a great organization that is constantly moving towards innovating and revolutionizing its respective industry.
I’m blessed every day that I get to do what I love, and I plan to continue shooting for the rest of my life. I find happiness in sharing my work with others, and hopefully inspiring them along the way while always remaining humble in the process.
My work can be seen on my website at danielmalikyar.com as well as on Instagram @dmalikyar.