Quiet Moments | Nirav Patel
I was born in India and raised by my grandmother for the first two years of my life while my parents came to the US to build a life for us. I knew how hard my parents had worked for me to have a better life, so I chose a career path that felt “secure”. I studied civil engineering and immediately after graduating, found a job designing wineries. Four years into my career, I was laid off. During this time I found my parent’s wedding album, which made me realize how incredibly important it was to document moments and preserve memories. Photography became a hobby but quickly elevated to an obsession.
I soon found another position as an engineer. I felt I had no other choice but to stay there because of the state of the economy. But by this point, I had already fallen in love with photography and made the decision to quit my job and pursue my passion.
One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and I’d like to share it with you:
“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
About Nirav's Work
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
My work is highly influenced by film/cinema. I’ve always been interested in storytelling and I’ve learned how to tell those stories through watching movies. Emmanuel Lubezki is one of my favorite cinematographers. Some of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen were done by him. His work pushes boundaries and his ability to tell a story and bring a viewer into the mind of each character is incredible. He’s made a huge impact in the way I approach my work.
Who are some of your favorite photographers?
Currently, my favorite photographers are Jack Davison, Vivian Maier, and Sally Mann.
What process do you undergo to produce your work?
First and most importantly, I look for someone whose body of work I can relate closely to. Someone who shows intentionality and a willingness to be experimental with shoots. I love to spend at least a full day with the person I photograph in order to build a relationship and really connect with them. I don’t do a lot of pre-planning but have a few concepts in mind. The shot itself is very low key and it’s usually just me and person I’m photographing. 95% of my work is done using natural light with no special modifiers. I like to challenge myself to create a body of work I’m proud of using whatever is available to me be it an Airbnb hotel room or a natural landscape. I always look for lighting before anything else.
What do you strive to capture in your photos?
I am drawn to quiet moments. I think it originated from attempts at self-preservation when I was living in neighborhoods that were...difficult. At the age of 7, I built a sanctuary in my room. In this tiny space, I had a large red tent on my bed which rested against the wall furthest from the window because stones had been thrown through it on several occasions. The bed was surrounded by a moat of blankets and my stuffed animals were my guardians. My imagination soared as I created a beautiful, safe haven. The feeling of loneliness drifted away and was replaced by the comfort of solitude. Here is where I found my quiet moments. To this day I still look for the glimpses of quiet when the world is turbulent.