We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandra Dahdah and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandra, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Everything in life entails some type of risk. The most important factor is to not pursue out of fear because that will also entail regrets. I had a full time job at the Governor’s office before committing to Photography. Even though it was part of my major, I just didn’t think I could pursue it as a career. I found myself envying my artist/photography friends that were committed to their craft. Then one day a friend shared something with me that changed everything, he said, “your time is the most valuable thing you can give to anyone, so how do you want to spend it?” That’s all I needed to hear. I quit my job shortly after that and started my photography business cold turkey. One account led to another. Also, never take you family/friend network for granted, they are so valuable. From just being morally supportive to helping drive business your way. It’s very beautiful. Ive been in business for 10+ years and I would do it all over again in a heart beat. It hasn’t been easy, lots of sacrifices, but I truly believe when you do what you love you will make it work. In my head it was always either sink or swim. So you just got to stay creative, always try new things, and never stop learning, especially from other artists. Make sure not to fall in the trap of comparing yourself. No one will ever shoot the way you do, stay unique, stay inspired.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I truly believe you should try to photograph what you are gravitated toward, whether it be pets, kids, street photography, etc. For me it started with Live Music, and Street Photography. I’ve tried many types of photography, and I have so many interests, but you don’t want to do it all, in my opinion. So I’ve narrowed down to Photojournalism/Commercial Lifestyle, however, I will always shoot Live Music no matter what, it’s the heart of my work.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In Austin, I love the South Congress/East Side area, there are lots of eclectic small business to visit. Really anything that entails culture and diversity. In Dallas, I would take them to the Bishop Arts District, I just love this area. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family and friends, my mentor Eli Reed, for believing in me and always taking the time to provide guidance or moral support when needed. My photo book collection has also been very helpful. I always go to them for inspiration.