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Writing + Photography

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

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

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