Though I originally came to Columbus as a photography major and have worked with many photographers in my lifetime, it wasn't until I met the amazing travel photographer Anthony Pizzoferrato that I finally took to heart the fundamental wisdom of:
"You can do anything, but not everything."
He was so significantly better than I was at photography that I profoundly realized how important it is to bring together a team, tribe, and collaboration of innovative individuals to work together—for everyone to bring their best strengths forward to produce great work.
Anthony is not only a great artist but a worldly and wise person—a passionate and talented millennial manifesting dreams into reality.
I was introduced to him by my dear pal Maura of Blonde in Blues and was immediately amazed by his work.
From a perspective of being an asana warrior in the yoga world, I was intrigued to meet someone in their twenties who had actually fought and served our country in Afghanistan.
After going through undergraduate school at The Ohio State University and my Teacher Training education at Yoga on High Teacher Training and Ayurveda Institute, in my seven years of inhabiting Columbus I had the pleasure of getting to know many creative artists, intellectuals, musicians, and yogis, but I couldn't recall almost anyone in a large network of millenials that had actually themselves sacrificed their own time to show up and risk their lives.
Though I am a pacifist at heart and ultimately hope to bring more and more peace to the people and planet, I have an admiration for brave, courageous, and creative people, and here's one of them.
KS: WHEN DID YOU FIRST BECOME INTERESTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY? WHAT WAS IT THAT YOU LOVED?
AP: I was first interested in video when I was younger actually. My father gave me his old camcorder that took the old school giant VHS tapes.
I was always documenting things that I did with friends like skateboarding and short skits, as well as when I would go on family vacations.
I am completely self-taught besides one photography class in high school that never really interested me. I have always loved to document things and a camera allowed me to do that.
KS: WHERE HAS YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY TAKEN YOU IN THE WORLD? WHERE HAVE YOU TRAVELED?
AP: I guess I could say that my interests for history and different cultures around the world have inspired my photography the most.
I remember when I was young looking through National Geographic magazines and getting inspired to one day travel to those places.
At one point in my life I wanted to be an Egyptologist; like most kids at that age the Pyramids of Giza and ancient Egypt interested me.
Not including the places I traveled to in the military I have been to Italy, Austria, Germany, Turkey, Israel, and Georgia.
KS: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES PLACES YOU'VE VISITED? WHY?
AP: Some of my most favorite places, that's a hard question to answer because I love multiple things of each place I have visited.
So far it would have to be Istanbul, Turkey and the country of Georgia including the capital city of Tbilisi.
I love Istanbul for its history and being at the crossroads of the East and the West makes for an interesting mix of food, architecture, and cultures.
I love the country of Georgia for its rich history and different traditions; it's a unique country that not many people know much about, however it's becoming a more popular tourist destination which could be both a good and bad thing.
KS: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY SOME OF THE GREATEST LIFE LESSONS ARE THAT YOU'VE LEARNED FROM BEING AROUND PEOPLE OF MANY DIFFERENT CULTURES?
AP: I was in the Army from 2008-2012, and deployed to Afghanistan in 2010; that was something that sparked a curiosity for the world I had when I was younger.
Experiencing different cultures and meeting people instead of just reading the news is one of the best things.
I think traveling is good for the soul, and it's also good to get out of your comfort zone because it allows for self growth which is important.
KS: WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN LIFE? WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED?
AP: What keeps me motivated and inspires me the most is knowledge.
I think in this day in age there is an infinite amount of knowledge literally at our fingertips, and learning is something that never stops at a certain age.
The more we know about the world we live in the less ignorance there is within society.
I believe in building bridges and not walls.
One thing I have learned from traveling is that people are the same everywhere you go and it's knowledge and education that can create a better society.
KS: ANY ADVICE YOU'D OFFER TO PEOPLE LOOKING TO REFINE THEIR PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS OR TAKE THEIR CRAFT MORE SERIOUSLY?
AP: One thing that I think can benefit any photographer no matter if you have just started or have been shooting for 20 years, is to shoot more.
Get your gear out and stop worrying about the next best camera body, or new lens.
It is no different than anything else and that it comes with practice and making mistakes and learning from them.
KS: ANY BOOKS YOU RECOMMEND? YOUR ABSOLUTE FAVORITES?
AP: I don't do as much reading as I should however most of my books are travel or history related.
I recommend anything from Lonely Planet, Fodor's, and Rick Steves.
Amazing Places: A Photographic Journey To the Wonders Of Our World by Carla Serra and Silvia Bombelli are also inspiring books.
KS: ANY DOCUMENTARIES OR MOVIES YOU SUGGEST?
AP: There are several documentaries I can recommend for anyone who is interested in history or any current conflicts that are taking place right now in our world.
An RT Documentary called Her War: Women vs Isis shows a different side of the conflict in Syria that has not gotten enough attention in the United States.
Rick Steves: Iran, I think he captured another side of Iran that is not covered enough in our country.
Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown: Iran.
Secrets of the Mona Lisa, Documentary Channel, and A Day in Auschwitz are some other interesting ones.
KS: WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOUR WORK? WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO REACH YOU?
I love to collaborate with people and work on things together; I believe in creating something with whoever I work with.
I am open for all kinds of work including photos for blogs or social media, fashion, lifestyle, and editorials.
I believe there is a difference between a snapshot and photograph.
A photograph is something you make; you already have a vision in your head prior to capturing it.
KS: ANY OTHER THINGS YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?
AP: If you have the ability to travel you should get out of your comfort zone and do so.
A good question to ask yourself is, "What would I still be doing if I had all the money and was set financially?"
Most of the time you will find yourself going back to what you love and what you're passionate about.
Follow what you love for the feeling it gives you. Do something that has a purpose; the money will come later.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes and expand your knowledge in the world because the past is the key to our future.