We had the good fortune of connecting with Sari Fried-Fiori and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sari, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
The four values that form the legs of the stool on which I sit are honesty, integrity, authenticity, and mindfulness. They help keep me centered, open to new possibilities, agile, proactive, and effective and provide a stable base for growth and expansion. They also light the light within me and ignite the lights of others. I try to live my life guided by these values in every moment of every day.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a fine art photographer. While many photographers specialize, I work across specialties, subjects, and genres. I take what I see the moment I see it. What sets me apart from others is my aesthetic. I focus on capturing the extraordinary in the ordinary of everyday life. This means that I always have a camera on board, I shoot whatever captures my imagination, I don’t set up shots, I use whatever lighting is available, and I do minimal post processing. The result is a remarkably diverse portfolio where the common thread is my consistent aesthetic for finding the deeper essence of my subjects. I enjoy both the structure of line, shapes, and perspective as well as the subjective elements of color, light, shadow, and texture. Even elements that are intangible like silence are interesting and captivating. My photography merges my right and left brain to create a mindful process of bringing the artistic together with the pragmatic. I’m most proud of consistently creating beautiful images that people love to look at. Nothing makes me happier than to receive a message from a client saying that one of my images touched them in a personal way.
I have always been an artist. I started drawing and painting when I was 5 and moved to music (piano then flute) at 7 and 9, respectively. Like many artists, I was encouraged to get a “real job” by my family, so I went to college and graduate school and built a successful corporate and consulting career in the Human Resources field. In 2005, my husband suggested that I focus on photography, and I purchased my first professional camera. I’ve been taking photos consistently ever since. I left my corporate career behind in 2012 when I formed my company, Sari Fried-Fiori Photography.
It’s never easy being an artist and like many, it was a “side” venture. This taught me how to balance playing the flute semiprofessionally multiple hours a day while working to grow my corporate professional career. Today, I’m focused 100% on my photography and have left the corporate world behind. While I have more freedom, it’s still a balancing act of creating art and running a business. There are challenges on both sides of this coin. As an artist, I have sought out opportunities to expand my artistic vision and deepen my photographic creativity. As an art business owner, I have grown my abilities to manage the financial, marketing, and operations of a new business.
All artists face obstacles along the way. There is always rejection by people who just don’t understand the work and others who just don’t like it. Today, most people have a camera in their pocket and think they are “photographers”. Most do not understand the craft, artistry, and technique needed to produce photographs that can touch the soul. Our world is extremely “noisy” with all the visual imagery on social media, TV, movies, and email. It can be hard to stand out in all this noise. I am finding that many potential clients just can’t keep up with the information overload and feel overwhelmed and oversaturated. The next challenge is likely to be the advancement of AI in creating imagery. Photographers are highly concerned about the possible negative impact of AI on the future of the profession. We used to worry about getting releases to take photos and now we are worried about a computer making photographs. But it is important to embrace this new technology and be willing to experiment.
I want people to know that being an artist is both noble and important to the fabric of our lives. As for my brand, my desire for others is to see it as accessible, interesting, stimulating, beautiful, real, relatable, authentic, playful, and intriguing.
Currently, I’m building my customer base that includes individual collectors as well as art consultants, interior designers, home stagers, and art curators. I have discovered that my work appeals to a diverse client base.
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.
The places I would take my friends to see include the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall near the Galleria, Memorial Park, Hermann Park, the Butterfly Museum, the Museum of Fine Art, the Galleria, Miller Outdoor Theater, the downtown skyscrapers, the Art Car Museum and parade in the Heights neighborhood, the Beer Can House, the annual Rodeo, the Japanese Garden in Hermann Park, Bayou Bend, Rothko Chapel, the Menil, the arts district and Discovery Green in downtown Houston. If they are sports fans, I would take them to see an Astros game. If they are theater fans, I would suggest seeing Express Children’s Theatre at Miller Outdoor or Bayou Bend, the Fourth Wall, Ensemble Theatre, and the Alley Theater. Eating is fun in Houston as we have many cultures and the food that goes with each. I would go to Goode & Company for BBQ, the original Ninfa’s for Mexican, Banana Leaf, Kata Robata, Pondicheri. There are many places to hangout as most restaurants and bars have outdoor eating and drinking areas. Onion Creek in the Heights is a great local friendly gathering spot.
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 husband is my inspiration. He has nurtured my creative soul and artistic process every day along my journey. He has been my biggest fan and cheerleader while gently nudging me to keep moving forward.