Beautiful lessons and visual stories
When you ask these questions, sometimes you find the answers and sometimes you learn beautiful lessons, well always we believe.
And this is just what happened to Paavo Shooya, a full-time creative entrepreneur for eight years as the Senior Photographer at AM Photography studio, one of the most sought-after in Namibia.
Looking back at those years and since our feature of him in 2017, this is what Paavo had to say ‘I’ve learned quite a lot, I swear I cannot list everything here, but I have learned the importance of discipline, patience, hard work, I now know where my market is, who they are, what they want, I know what we specialize in now, so to mention a few, it’s been just beautiful lessons all the way.’
Added to Paavo’s dynamic of discipline, patience and hard work is a mixture of persona we can only wish for: he runs on coffee, a morning person, a noon person and a night owl. With that combination, we can only understand why AM Photography’s services are super. What really makes the studio stand out is a constant dedication to improving ‘our compositions, postures, retouching skills, and most importantly it’s the gift that I was blessed with that makes me tell a visual story different from the others’ he adds.
It’s not all-work for Paavo, even with such great vigor, a balance of fun and serious makes it all more the better. As he puts it ‘[I] wake up to coffee, start shooting or retouching depending on the bookings, take cleaning breaks, work throughout the day and throughout the night, when I don’t have work I unwind with a drink, and a good roast with the team, just for laughs.’
Every time the camera shutters is a magic moment for AM Photography, a dual existence of creating something exceptional and a chance to craft something better. His goal for the studio is to keep telling photographic stories, have more people join the team to tell these stories with and keep getting better at each ‘lights, camera, shoot’ and at each challenge such as navigating through a pandemic.
Due to the pandemic, Paavo and his team had to re-strategize, the studio took a backseat with events and introduced new services such as product photography which did not violate COVID-19 health regulations.
To be honest I have to be thankful we weren’t affected by the pandemic as other small businesses, which I wish a successful recovery upon, though we were affected, we are grateful that we could still strive.
With all the changes, growth and lessons learned, Paavo says ‘expect more growth, more wisdom, and more content, and hopefully bigger photographs “which my clients really hate”’ he chuckles.
And when a creative can’t choose their favourite project, then you know passion goes into every ounce of creating. We asked Paavo what his favorite project from 2021 was, this is what he had to say:
Hmm well, I have had this question so many times but I haven’t been able to answer it as it deserves, unfortunately, I don’t have any, I appreciate all of them the same way.
Name anyone, right now, who you would love to photograph? Angelina Jolie
Paavo does not consider himself at the level of legend Mario Testino yet, but sure, Mario would be darn proud of him. (See our past feature with Paavo here)
I consider him a pioneer and we are just his students, I am at my level, a level inspired by him, and a lot of other good photographers who paved way for us, but if you put me in a Mario Testino world I am sure I can make him proud.
Here is a gallery of some of his work.
Article by Annapaula Vakamuena
Images of Paavo by Betty Sibeso