New York City-based photographer Kourosh Sotoodeh has shot for some of the world’s most iconic magazines and brands. Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, WSJ, WWD, Elle, Glamour, Marie Claire, Porter, Grazia, L’Officiel, L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, to name just a few. His artistic journey and minimalistic style has led him to specialize in capturing beauty through his artistic lens and now guiding brands as a creative director. His commitment to capturing human beauty remains a constant in everything he does.
We spoke with Sotoodeh recently about his work, inspiration and more.
When did you discover your talent for photography?
At 19, a lab technician praised my film portraits, motivating me to build a portfolio. Self-taught initially, the distinctiveness of my work soon drew positive attention. These early validations, coupled with my passion for fashion and beauty photography, indicated a natural talent worth nurturing.
How would you describe your work?
As a specialized fashion and beauty photographer based in NYC, I blend various forms of visual arts into my work. My aim is to capture the essence of human beauty, with a particular focus on natural elements. I continually strive for excellence, influenced by masters in the field but adapted through my own lens.
Tell me how your work as a consulting creative director melds into your work as a photographer.
My role as a creative director consultant has significantly enriched my professional journey. I’m responsible for overseeing the entire creative process, from brand identity to post-production, enhancing my craft in fashion and beauty photography in New York.
What kinds of projects are you looking to work on now?
I’m presently engaged in several upcoming campaigns, editorials, and beauty projects. Additionally, I’m in negotiations for further creative director consultant roles. The dynamic environment of New York keeps me inspired and continually pushing my creative boundaries.
Can you talk to us a little bit about some of your past projects, like covers for Vogue, etc.?
Being published in Vogue Arabia was a watershed moment for me, underscoring the adage, “If it’s good enough for Vogue, it’s good enough for anyone.” The subsequent cover for Vogue Thailand further attested to the quality and uniqueness of my work in fashion and beauty photography.
What or who would you consider to be inspirations to your work and life?
We live in a world rich with talent and inspiration, thanks to our interconnectedness via the internet. The list of those who inspire me is virtually endless. I consider everyone in my life to be a teacher; we’re all students and teachers to each other. Alongside this, I’m also greatly influenced by the concept of collective consciousness.
How has your international journey influenced your work?
My international journey has been a vivid tapestry of cultures, experiences, and inspirations. From the rich traditions of the Middle East to the bustling life of East Asia and the artistic expressions of Europe, each has contributed uniquely to my creative palette. Now making my mark in NYC, I’ve woven these varied threads into my specialized focus on fashion and beauty photography. These global influences allow me to view beauty from an enriched, multi-faceted perspective.
Can you discuss the importance of mindfulness and spirituality in your creative process?
Mindfulness and spirituality are not just practices but integral parts of my daily life that profoundly influence my work. Through practices like yoga and Vipassana meditation, I attain a balanced state of mind that allows me to approach my creative endeavors with heightened clarity and intention. I’m not just capturing an image; I’m capturing the very essence of a moment, the underlying emotion. My belief in the collective consciousness further influences how I connect with my subjects, the moods I aim to create, and the energy I aspire to project through my photography.
How do you stay current with industry trends in fashion and beauty photography?
Staying current in this ever-evolving industry is vital, especially in a creatively vibrant hub like New York. I regularly invest in my professional development by attending key industry events, meticulously studying the latest publications, and fostering meaningful dialogue with industry peers. Additionally, I keep a keen eye on social media and digital platforms, which often serve as barometers for current trends. This proactive approach not only keeps me updated but also lets me anticipate where fashion and beauty photography are headed next.