Today we’d like to introduce you to Can Ahtam.
Can, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, I’ve started my photography journey with those first snapshots from a disposable camera my mother gifted me as a child. I was fortunate enough to travel a lot with my family to countries around Europe and Africa, and of course, the Americas. The travel component gave me a different understanding of the world we live in and unintentionally, you compare your culture to others and try to seek out the differences and different understandings. That drew me into documenting the differences I observed visually by photography.
As I transitioned my life from Istanbul to Boston, to earn my MBA from Bentley University, I got sucked into this wonderful world of Instagram through various community-based events. Meeting such creative, friendly and professional individuals aspired me to continue my passion for photography on a serious level.
Nine years after, my wife and I, ended up moving to Los Angeles, CA, and I have decided to continue this pursuit even heavier here through diverse brands and projects.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I wish I could say it has been a smooth road, but no. Expanding and getting projects within itself was challenging since you have to build a solid and creative portfolio as well as draw an attractive pricing strategy to get ahead of the competition. Since photography is a highly diluted market, it gets even more challenging to rise up among all the creative eyes and be the preferred photographer in most cases.
The next biggest challenge I still have to this date is collaborations. Los Angeles is packed with a lot of talented individuals who aspire to be “stars” in what they do someday. For that goal; they need exposure, content, press…etc. and in most cases, because of social media, most assume these are handed to you for free. So I end up receiving plenty of messages from people who are asking me to shoot their photos for free or in exchange for “exposure” on their profile. If only I could support a living with exposure…
Please tell us about Can Ahtam Photography.
Although I enjoy and mostly specialize in portrait photography, I tend to not strictly consider myself as a portrait photographer. I am a photographer. I can shoot long exposure, portraiture, interior design, products, nature, sports…etc. I receive diverse projects just due to the fact that I have various interests and skills within photography itself. If I were to pick one thing that I am proud of, however, that would be portrait photography just because I like to connect with people and reflect the beauty in everyone on to the shots I capture.
In addition to my photo shoot sessions, I also sell small to large photo prints on materials such as paper, acrylic, metal, and canvas.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I remember my first digital camera, Sony Mavica FD7. This was very special to me because it actually had Floppy Disks as memory cards. (1997) The best a floppy disk could store on that camera was 40 photos or so. Imagine the limit and the promise that era’s technology offered as you look at today’s technological advancements. It was, nevertheless, better than a film camera since you could always go back and empty out the photos you didn’t like.
Female Portraits: @sarah_rosenkrantz, @alin_ii, @msdevonbarnes