382. Natural Beauty as Fine Art Photography
Surrounded by the lush, natural beauty of the wine country of Iran, growing up in a loving family that savored their times together absorbing it, why at 17 would Parish leave this all behind, and with $300 in his pocket, move to the U.S. by himself?
Consistently original, diverse, inventive and timeless are the hallmarks of Parish Kohanim’s photography. During his career, he has worked commercially for many Fortune 500 companies—IBM, Coca-Cola, DeBeers, to name a few—and his work has appeared on the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Forbes, Time and Newsweek. “Photography has given me an expanded vision of the world, elevating my passion and profound appreciation for the majestic beauty of nature and all life. There’s no substitute for such profound pleasure, joy and fulfillment documenting such splendid beauty.”
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
Parish believes his lifelong love of visual beauty was recorded in his subconscious during his childhood with his parents and siblings in Iran. “On moonlit nights, we would go to a place that had a stream and we would just sit there and listen to the sound of water, without much conversation, and look at the moon, feel the breeze, just be present with what nature has given us. That’s one of the reasons why a large body of my work is floral photography. When I ground myself in that incredible universe, I realize the impact of its beauty, its design, it’s colors and its fragrant smells. It sends my spirit to a whole different kingdom.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Parish was born in the small southern Iranian city, Shiraz. “It’s an absolutely stunning place, very much like Santa Fe, New Mexico; it’s very mountainous, with beautiful blue skies and lots of nature.” He cherished his closely-knit family, but he also had a love for the United States and all things American. “When I was 17, I decided to leave it all and come to the U.S., with $300 in my pocket, hardly speaking English, hardly knowing anybody here. Fear never came into the equation. I didn’t have an analytical mind as I grew up. When you are younger you don’t think of obstacles or dangers, you just focus on your destination. You think, this is what I want to do, and you just go for it without any fears.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“If you submit to the idea that you have arrived—thinking, “I’m there!”—you are cheating yourself out of going to the next level. So, I’m always challenging myself, giving myself new assignments. This keeps me alive and fresh to do something that I’ve never done before. Most importantly, I try to share something that I hope will resonate or inspire somebody who looks at the imagery to see the message behind my photos.”
Steps to Success from Parish Kohanim
1. Simplify your life and enjoy the beauty all around you, especially the beauty in nature.
2. Don’t let fear hold you back from pursuing your passion.
3. Never stop giving yourself “new assignments” that challenge you to expand your vision and see more.
4. Share the beauty you find. It enables us to take better care of the planet and each other.
On His Bookshelf
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle
The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere, by Pico Iyer
Connecting With Parish Kohanim
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