IMG_1717 1.jpg

Writing + Photography

Memoirs and musings of Darius Bashar. Toronto portrait photographer and writer, in pursuit of all things real, raw and intimate. 

Darius BasharComment
Take A Risk With Your Heart

If you don’t show up, it’s impossible to be loved.

For years I kept parts of myself hidden. Especially in group situations.

I said a lot more in my head then I did out loud.

There were times I wanted to suggest ideas or make jokes.

There were times I had questions or concerns.

There were times I longed for deeper connection and a feeling of closeness.

But instead of trusting my impulse to speak-up and step-in, I’d stay quite and distance myself.

A voice in my head told me it was too big a risk to let people see “the real” me. What if they didn’t laugh at my jokes? What if they didn’t care about my questions? What if they had no interest in getting closer?

The fear of being rejected prevented me from fully showing up.

I’d often walk away from a social gathering feeling frustrated and alone.

“See, no one really cares about me.”

Then I realized by focussing on my fear of rejection, I would only allow 10% of myself to show up. I thought I was playing it safe because 10% would not piss anyone off. But by keeping 90% of myself hidden, I never gave people enough of the real me to genuinely connect.

At the core, sharing my heart is a risk. There are no assurances I will be accepted.

But by hiding my heart and my truth, I am making it impossible for people to truly love me. You cannot love what is not seen or felt.

They might love that 10% part of me, but then I will always be afraid that “if they actually knew the ‘real me’ they’d feel differently.”

From my experience almost every time I take a risk and let people see and feel my heart, it actually leads to deeper connections. My truth often reflect on parts of their truth. My “risk”(to open up) gave them permission to share more of their hearts as well.

By sharing more of your heart, there is always a risk that you will be too much for some people. This can hurt, especially if you are like me and suffer from the disease to please. But I have come to realize that being too much for some people just means those are not your people.

And that’s okay too. The point isn’t to be accepted by everyone. That’s just not possible. But it doesn’t mean you can’t still have love and respect for those people as well. From my experience, each person that moves away, also makes space for another that wants to step-in.

My approach is to spend less time analyzing other peoples experiences of my heart and more time just letting her sing.

It’s a process. Sometimes I still hide my heart because I am afraid it will be rejected. But the more I share and open, the more love and support I receive. This feedback loop continually validates that taking risks with my heart is one of the smartest things I can do.

Try it out. Take a small (or big) risk today with your heart and see what happens.

— — — —

For anyone that feels called to take a risk and share more of their heart through photography and art, I have an amazing promo this month. 

See the link below for all the deets → HEARTshots Promo

Darius BasharComment
Blow Shit Up Regularly

I remember last summer when Anya Romanova reached out to me. This was before I launched my HEARTshots package. At that time 90% of my bookings were coming from my signature Black + White Portraits.

She told me she loved my black and whites and really wanted to work together, but also that her particular brand needed something with more colour and lightness. This wasn’t the first time I heard this. At least 5 other people said something similar, but I sort of dismissed it.

Anya being Anya, kept pushing me to try something new. So I booked her in. I called the shoot a “natural light portrait”. Super catchy right!?

A part of me was very resistant and actually pissed.

“Why are you blowing shit up Darius?! We have something that is working really well (the black and white portraits), why are you going to abandon it to try something else? Something so basic and simple (you aren’t even using any lights… all natural light! Who is going to pay for that!”

So instead of ignoring that part of me, I decided to try something different. I fully listened to that part of me. I let him vent and get all his thoughts and feelings out. Then I (sincerely) considered his concerns and fears and after some time to reflect, I decided to do it anyway.

I could of just ignored that part of me and jumped right in, but by allowing that side to be heard I was able to bring him in as an ally. (This might sound super weird to you, but it honestly gave me "team" momentum).

I looked that part of me in the eyes and said,

“Thank you for sharing." I value your input. But, the only way we can find out where our limits are, is by pushing past them and giving ourselves permission to fail.”

It is so easy to rest on our laurels. To play it safe, especially when something is working. And there is nothing inherently wrong with that. But for me I love exploring the edges of my world and of my heart. I adore the feeling of moving faster than I can think and riding the wave of momentum.

In this place, I am outside of all attachment to output, results and ends.

Also, all of my greatest discoveries and creations were birthed at these edges. Once I realized this, I was able to reframe this type of “risk” and I started strategically pursuing it.

The key was to start with proper expectations. Will this new thing instantly be as great as the last thing I have spent months/years refining? Probably not. And that totally makes sense.

Patience, kindness and genuine playfulness are also super helpful at the edges.

Thank you Anya and everyone else that so lovingly poked me to the edges. Its been one amazing 365 day journey with HEARTshots. I am so excited to be doing round 2 with Anya this month. I have a really great feeling about this one.

Also… I am getting that familiar feeling that it might be time to blow shit up and birth a new photography experience.

Stay tuned… or even better if something moves you and you have an idea of a new photography look/experience please hit me up and share. I deeply value your input.

Much much much love!!


PS: I have included some of the photos from Anya’s first HEARTshots and also a short video with her thoughts on the experience. Kinda cool seeing the photos and then the video of the real life human (aka Anya) and her experience.


For anyone that feels called to working together, I have an amazing promo this month. See the link below for all the deets --> HEARTshots Promo

Darius BasharComment
Project Finished Day 01

Last month my friend Elan Marko invited me to join his online sales sprint group. This was a group of entrepreneurs that were going to login through zoom (video calling app) for 2 hours a day and focus on one personal (sales related) task, which they were going to work on alone, usually in their own homes or a coffee shop.

We’d say some really quick hellos, share our 1 intention for the 2 hour sprint and then put our video on mute and just WORK.

You weren’t required to login every day, but at a minimum, 2 group work sessions a week.

Everyone was working on something different. Interactions were minimal, but you’d see everyone’s floating heads for the entire 2 hours, muted but moving and hustling. Getting shit done. 

I never really knew exactly what anyone was doing, but being able to see real human faces, was a game changer. It provided a really cool positive social pressure. A reminder to make the day count… cause everyone else seemed to be. It brought a lot of focus and ramped up my productivity.

So grateful to Elan and the whole team in the May sprint. It felt really supportive, fun and was effective. I highly recommend it to any entrepreneurs that might be having trouble focussing at home alone. 

So, when Blake Fleischacker asked me if I wanted to join his Project Finished sprint, I got that same tingle in my stomach that I got when Elan asked me a few weeks back… one part part nervous.

Project Finished is similar but different. One key difference is that the group work session starts at 6:30am instead of 9:30am or 1:30pm, which is the time slot for Elan’s sprint. This means (mostly) uninterrupted time to work, as the work day has not yet begun for most people and I won’t be bombarded by emails and text.

The other big difference is Project Finished requires you to make (almost) every 6:30am group work session. (yikes!) Sounds intense, but I think this might be really great for me, as my gut is telling me I need more structure.

The other difference is it’s not a sales focussed sprint. It can be, if you want that to be your monthly project, but the point is you pick 1 project and you focus on that singular goal from 6:30am to 8am every single weekday.

For me this is a giant experiment. And you know how much I love experiments. 

My hypothesis is if I carve out 90 mins a day, 5 days a week and share a heartfelt, social media post (this write-up is day 01) I will be able to organically and sincerely grow my HEARTshot photography business. 

My theory is that 1 real and honest post will = 1 new HEARTshot client. And more importantly the *right* type of client. People who see and feel the real me and want to make something magical together. 

It’s a theory. I may be wrong. But there is only one way to find out. 

So much love to my brilliant, innovative and creative homies Elan and Blake. I feel so grateful to have you guys in my life and that you both felt I would be a good fit for your amazing sprints. Thanks for continually inspiring me.

much much much love. 


For anyone that feels called to working together, I have an amazing promo this month. See the link below for all the deets --> HEARTshots Promo

Darius BasharComment
Fun With Nooshin

It’s always a special treat for me to be able to photograph someone on multiple occations and over the course of a few years. 

It’s so speical to be able to see them grow and develop. But also to feel my connection and bond with them deepen. 

With my dear friend Nooshin I was extra lucky because I got to do 3 shoots in just over a year. Two with her amazing, brilliant and hilarious son and one shoot, just the two of us. 

We laughed so hard throughout the shoot. 

And played like two kids when their parents are away on vacation. 

At times I felt like I was photographing a feirce painter and activist. At other times I could swear we were taking photos for her new Rock and Roll album. 

Nooshin, I am so grateful for this afternoon together and for your trust and also your PLAY. 

Rock on my Sista! 

Darius BasharComment
Cheeky Monkey

It amazes me that Lilian Motta and I have have only known each other for 3 years. It feels more like 3 lifetimes.

In those 3 years we have done 3 photoshoots together. Each shoot surprisingly hilarious, but also absolutely stunning.

If people actually knew how ridiculous and goofy Lilian gets during a photoshoot they’d be on the floor laughing.

Yes, the final photos often look beautiful, deep and maybe even spiritual, but 90% of the time lilian is making me laugh with her monkey moves and goofball antics.

She is a “forever a kid’, which is probably why her and I get along so well.

Lil, you are one of my dearest, most cherished homies and I love through and through.

Darius BasharComment
Creation is NOT...
Creation is not marketing. 
Creation is not nurturing. 
Creation is not defending. 
Creation is not gratitude. 

All I want to do is create cool shit with cool humans. 
Happy Birthday Hima
Waiting for the right words.
Waiting for the right time.
Waiting for the perfect moment.

Wanting to do these magical humans justice.
Wanting the world to fully understand their beauty and power.
Wanting to be fully understood myself.

Maybe my job isn't to wait and want.
Maybe I am here instead to create and release.
Maybe it's impossible to be truly understood.

Maybe those are the most freeing words I have ever spoken.


Thank you Hima for your anger. For your rage. For you splendour and for your play.

I love you homie.