Today we’d like to introduce you to Ash Navaratnam.
Ash, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Creativity is contagious. As a little kid in New Zealand, I watched my older sister dive into fantastical storytelling, in which a piece of paper quickly become the canvas to her imagination. I watched my father recite words of wisdom from the dozen books he read and fill the room with rhythms of music from around the globe. It’s safe to say, I quickly knew my life path was heading towards the world of artists.
I experimented with various arts in my childhood – painting, singing, cooking (even made a vegetarian/vegan cookbook), guitar lessons, dance school, theatre productions, you name it. But I never felt like a true artist until I picked up a camera. Until I looked through a lens. From there on, I dove in full force – becoming the senior year photographer, filming campaigns for Singapore-based organizations, as well as completing a videography and media journalism internship.
Now being in the U.S as an international student, I still continue to explore new ways of expressing myself via fashion internships, writing screenplays, photographing, working on set, and so on, because I know there will never be one way of expression. One outlet.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Figuring out what I wanted to do in the creative realm has never been smooth sailing. Choosing to pursue film in the U.S was a quick choice I made in senior year given two factors: I knew how to work a camera, and I knew I loved stories. But upon freshman year, I quickly learnt that feature filmmaking was not for me. While I do believe the production process is the greatest training anyone could have in a multitude of things: finance, organization, leadership, artistic technique and more, it never motivated me to push my boundaries. To push for my best.
So I started involving myself more in college to figure out what the h*** I wanted to do without setting off the parental alarm. This included joining a mental health service organization called Agape and becoming a leader in Fashion Society. I grew an adoration for being with and among people. I grew a “passion for fashion”. So what better than portrait photography? It has become the most fulfilling mechanism for me to have meaningful social interactions with people while experimenting with visual aesthetics, colours, compositions and clothing.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am now primarily focused on portrait photography and working in fashion media, which I advertise through my website ffsake.net. I initially dreamt of the concept for my website (cliche for us right-brained individuals right?) where it would be called “For F’s Sake” or “FFS” to hone in on my four interests starting with F: food, film, fashion, and fotos.
The site enables individuals to contact me in regards to booking a portrait photoshoot or suggesting any other creative partnerships. Moreso, FFS gives me an outlet to constantly update on my creative endeavours whether it be sharing new recipes, writing fashion articles, or uploading my photography work.
What sets me apart is that I follow my instinct to wherever it takes me. Society proposes that we focus on finding one singular passion that will guide us throughout the rest of our lives. Well, I found four. And frankly all of them hold a certain degree of importance in my life. I have learnt that being pulled to develop in multiple creative directions does not mean I am confused, but rather it all connects to my greater purpose: to create.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
The word lucky echoes around me; lucky to be alive, lucky to have food on my plate, lucky to have spent my childhood in New Zealand and of course it’s true but I’ve never entirely believed in the concept of good fortune coming from out of the blue. Being open to possibilities without being stuck in one mindset is what I believe has maximized my opportunities in attaining luck.
By investing myself in a plethora of social interactions within the international and American community, I attained ‘good’ luck with my photography business as more people became eager to work with me. I attained luck with a wide reception of my fashion articles as more people were willing to listen to what I had to say. COVID-19? Well, that may have been a hinder on the personable aspects of my business but it formed an opportunity to invest more time into my other passions alike to sustainable cooking.
As I go forward, I will choose to venture into the unknown, be prepared, and be proactive. In doing so, maybe I will continue to be lucky. Maybe not. Nonetheless, I will continue to put my 100% into my website, my involvement, and all that I do.
- $60-80 USD for a one-on-one portrait two-hour photoshoot: (prices vary depending on location and extended time)
- $250 for special event photography (prices may vary)
- Website: ffsake.net
- Phone: 310-717-6796
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/ash.shaniah