“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” —Oprah Winfrey

Photo: @rimaelzoor

Rima El-Zoor
Visual Artist and Photographer

Instagram: @rimaelzoor

www.rimaelzoor.com | Ottawa ON

Where did your interest in photography stem from?

I’ve always had a passion for photography, but I never took the time to learn it technically.

Do you feel more confident as a photographer now that you have had the opportunity to study it?

I definitely have more confidence now. I was always scared to shoot in manual mode before, because I didn’t fully understand how to use the settings. The course I took helped he understand how all the settings come together, how to critique work, how to accept critique, and how light plays a major role in photography. Most of all, it got me out there shooting with the various weekly assignments. It helped me get out of my comfort zone.

There is a famous quote by W.C. Fields about show business: “Never work with animals or children.” Now, you work with people and pets – how important are people skills in this profession.

I can understand where he’s coming from. Animals and children can be quite unpredictable in their movements and mood. It’s easy to tell an adult to sit still or to pose in a certain way and you know what the outcome will be.

I like capturing spontaneous moments, and I think you’ll almost always get that with animals and children.

People skills are really important in this profession. You have to be outgoing, and you have to know how to provide guidance. You can’t talk to a child like you do with adults. So, you have to be prepared to become a big kid yourself and make it a fun experience for them or else they’ll get bored.

Where do you draw your inspiration as an artist?

I would have to say right now that I am inspired by other photographers. I follow quite a few photographers on Instagram and I look at the fantastic work they’re all doing and it motivates me to get out there and shoot. I also find inspiration daily, from my morning commute to work, watching the sunrise, and people watching.

Instagram: @rimaelzoor

Your brother is a well known Hair Stylist in Ottawa, you’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with him on a few projects – that are more artistic in nature. You also photograph portraits, events and products. Which style are you most passionate about?

I love shooting portraits whether they’re candid or staged.

There’s something about sharing a moment with another individual and being able to give them a snapshot where they felt great about themselves and a memory of them being in the spotlight.

I also love collaborating with other artists, such as my brother, and showing people the talents that we work so hard to perfect.

Where would be your dream destination assignment?

Europe! There’s so many countries in Europe that I would love to shoot in. The colours of the buildings in Greece, to the landscapes in Italy and the architecture in Spain.

Everything these days is digital – newspapers, magazines, books. I still like reading books – having something tangible to hold. Do you think photographers should still have print portfolios?

Absolutely! I think every photographer should still have print portfolios, but I don’t think that they are really a requirement anymore. Digital content gets cluttered because it’s too easy when you’re given unlimited space to work with. But a printed portfolio requires some thought and reflection of your very best work. Most clients are going to want to print out the photographs you provide them with, so I think it’s important to showcase what your work looks like in print.

Who are some photographers you admire in the industry?

I admire Annie Leibovitz and Lara Jade for their success in the celebrity portrait/fashion world. Paul Nicklen is one of my favourite nature photographers.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

I love how photographs can capture a single moment in time – it can speak volumes without anyone saying a word. What is your favorite image you have shot?

My favourite would have to be the one of my niece running through the sprinkler in my backyard. I would hope that someone looking at this image would see the pure joy that children get out of the simple things in life.

Photo: @rimaelzoor

How would you describe your personal style?

I would describe my style as tomboy chic. I’ve never been a girly girl and always wore clothes that I felt comfortable in. For me that would be dress shirts, bow-ties and oxford shoes.

What does the term beauty from the inside out mean to you?

To me it means having the confidence to match how you feel on the outside. To be comfortable in your skin. But I think it can also mean being a good person and having a likable personality.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

On a beach! I’m not a fan of the cold winter months and I would love nothing more than to be sipping on a rum and coke on a beach right about now.

I have a book of quotes – whenever I read a book or hear a line in a movie I like – I write it down. What is your favorite quote?

“Beauty is not caused. It is”- Emily Dickinson