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Meet Charming Pasadena Photographer: Brian Lolik

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Lolik.

Brian, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Since I was young, taking pictures has always been something I’ve loved. I first got a little digital camera when I was in middle school and couldn’t put the thing down. I’ve always had this unexplainable desire to always be taking pictures, even when I couldn’t figure out what or why I wanted to take a photo. Pretty much all of the photos I took back then were terrible, but what kept me going was the excitement and joy I got from that one photo on a shoot.

I first started out taking landscape photos because to me, it was easy. There were no people in the frame to make me nervous. As I grew up I started going through much of Ansel Adams work and I realized landscapes were not as easy as I thought. Going through Ansel Adams’ work and seeing these incredible stills of Yosemite only pushed me to work harder on my landscape and travel photos. California is a pretty cool place to grow up because there are so many beautiful locations within just a few hours of driving. I’m still trying to focus on the landscape photos, but I’ve recently I’ve been focusing my energy towards people.

In the past year, I have been taking pictures of people, more specifically women. I never thought that this would be the direction I would be going but I’ve been inspired. I’ve been following photographers like Chuck Lang and Mark Harless (aka: Bleeblu), and they are able to capture women is such a beautiful way. Chuck’s main thing is he doesn’t use a makeup artist on his shoots; the women model just as they are. The way photography, modeling, magazines, and generally our culture has gone in the past few decades has done a pretty good job at sexualizing the female body and using it in every possible mode they can. For now, that is my motivation and inspiration. I want to go against what our culture has done to women and natural beauty. There is so much beauty out there that doesn’t need to be fabricated or sexualized.

There is a lot of power in a photograph. A photograph can evoke emotion, inspiration, and even make someone do something they might have never done. I want to take time to concentrate on the natural beauty. Whether that be in some hidden location in California or that be a women in a photo that focuses on the natural and raw beauty that she holds. My strongest desire is that when people look through my photos, they can feel empowered and uplifted.

Has it been a smooth road?
No, it’s definitely not been a smooth road. Some of my biggest struggles has been self-doubt and having a clear vision of what I want to create. I can get so caught up on not knowing what I want to create that I become paralyzed for a short time in my work. These ruts can be so difficult to get out of, but I think what usually pulls me out is when I decide to push away the fears of failure and just keep going. I still produce bad work sometimes, but that’s when I learn and am able to move forward.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Well, I’m graduating from college in December so that’s pretty exciting! However, what am I going to do after I graduate? That’s the real question. I’m trying to decide between going into corporate business and keeping photography at the side, or just fully going in the direction of photography. I would enjoy both routes, to be honest, but for now, I need to start focusing on how to make a decent living while not letting my passion for photography and travel die out. I know it’s possible, I just gotta figure out where those two intersect.

Let’s dig a little deeper into your story. What was the hardest time you’ve had?
Well, it’s hard to say ‘hardest time in my career’ because I’m only just graduating college, so I will talk about one of the hardest times in my life. When I was 12, almost 13, my father passed away. I didn’t know quite how to deal with this since my parents were divorced and I was his only child. So as you can imagine this was a pretty lonely time for me. However, how I got through it (still am getting through it) was Jesus Christ. Having something to hold on to gave me the strength to press on and gave me hope for a future. This hope may look different for a lot of people but for me holding onto the promises of Jesus is the only way to make sense of the world. The other way I’ve been able to get through this have been my friends. I’ve been incredibly blessed with some solid dudes in my life. And lastly, having passion for something. Not to sound cheesy, but in the last two years, when I decided to focus on photography and make it ‘my thing’, I’ve experienced so much more joy and happiness. I think there is true joy when you decide to immerse yourself into one thing and make it ‘your thing’.

Are there days when you feel like you’ve done everything you wanted to, careerwise – the “I’ve made it” kind of moments?
I don’t know if there were any ‘wow’ moments because I’m definitely still on the long road to making it, but I think there have definitely been those moments where I knew there was something there. I think each time I do a shoot I get that one shot where I’m like, “holy shit, I’m good…” haha. That little spark keeps me going. That spark is why I love photography and why I want to keep pursuing this because I know if I can keep working on my weaknesses and focusing on what I am good at, those moments will come more often. That’s exciting to think about.

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