Take a moment and think to yourself, what are my dreams? You may not know the exact path you’ll take to reach this dream, but you know that you want it. You want it badly. Once you have a dream in your mind, what is the next step? Do you drop everything you’re doing in this moment to chase that dream or do you wait patiently for that dream to come to you? It’s up to you.
Nathan Navarro, a 24-year-old photographer from Mission Viejo, California has exemplified hard work throughout his entire life. Thanks to his parents, Nathan got his first job at Petsmart at age 16. Aside from being employed, he was still attending high school and was also a dedicated soccer player. Despite the heavy workload, Nathan was able to perform well in school, at work, and on the field. He knew how to balance his time and give 100% at everything. This work ethic has carried over into his current success and has helped him to combine his passions: photography and business. After graduating high school he went onto the University of San Diego to study finance. As he was starting his college journey, he also picked up a love for photography at the age of 19.
Anywhere he went he would take his camera with him. At first this was just a hobby, but the more photos he took, the more he fell in love and wanted to make this a career. Three years later at the age of 22, Navarro saw his photography dream turn into something real…something very real. In 2012, his friend who ran a music blog in Orange County had asked Nathan if he could borrow his camera to shoot a concert in Fresno. Upon return from the concert, Nathan’s friend received some very helpful advice. To Nathan’s surprise, not only did his friend listen to the advice, but then asked Nathan if he would like to start shooting for the site. This was the spark behind Nathan’s current reality. In just months he found himself shooting for well-known acts at some of the biggest clubs in Southern California.
While he was in LA, he made important connections and received a multitude of opportunities to improve his work. For example, he became a resident photographer for Eventvibe in January 2012. Through this residency, Nathan picked up two lifelong mentors and friends – Bobby Reyes, West Coast Regional Director and Tim Ortiz, owner of Eventvibe. Reyes and Ortiz displayed honesty and gave Nathan a lot of practical advice and constructive criticism to make sure his work kept improving and was top-notch. About four months later, on May 8th 2012, Navarro’s work was published for the first time. One of Nathan’s photos was used as Minnesota’s (bass music legend from California) profile picture on his Facebook fan page. In fact, to this day Minnesota is still using it as his profile picture.
Fast-forward to summer 2013 where he picked up his second residency at RMD Group in San Diego. Both residencies have served as ways for him to make a living and have consistent work – shooting several nights a week. This is also the summer he began shooting for major artists on a regular basis, in addition to music festivals. While summer 2013 housed a lot of photography/business opportunities for Navarro, it also served as a personal challenge as he dealt with a tragic death in his family. During Coachella 2013, Navarro’s uncle was working onsite for Coca-Cola when a structure collapsed, crushed his uncle, and killed him instantly. This incident caused a major lawsuit between Coca-Cola and the Navarro family. It was a very difficult time for Nathan as he was challenged to let go of his bitterness towards Coca-Cola (he even stopped purchasing/drinking their products for several months) and forgive the company for something that was out of their control. With the help of close friends and mentors, Nathan was able to get through this hardship and ultimately forgive Coca-Cola. He learned that you can’t always control each outcome…accidents do happen, and you can’t live your life in fear. You just never know whether tomorrow is guaranteed so you need to live everyday like it’s your last.
This new mindset has enabled him to get through difficult times during his photography and business careers as well. For example, Nathan runs a photography company called “Rapid Eye Photo” and in February 2014 they officially setup a studio in downtown San Diego. According to Navarro, this was a very long and stressful process because it was expensive and saving up the money was burdensome. However, Nathan, along with his coworkers were able to get through this nightmare due to proper planning and helping one another.
He tries his best not to let the little things frustrate him anymore. There have been several situations in the music industry that have had him at wit’s end, but he has learned to keep his head in the game and has realized that things just happen and he must get over it. He emphasizes the importance of not getting “stuck.” With the right character and a proper set of morals, it is much easier to get yourself out of difficult situations.
As Nathan’s booking schedule became more demanding, it was hard for him to hold the studio down while traveling so he delegated this position to his business partner, Javier. In addition, Nathan has recently hired a booking coordinator to assist him with bookings and his traveling itineraries. Thanks to the help of Javier, his booking coordinator, and other coworkers it is possible for Nathan to continually live out his dream – to travel around the world and focus his time on showcasing the artists and events he shoots. Just this past week he was shooting the EDMBiz Conference and EDC Las Vegas for the very first time. This has been a dream of Nathan’s for several years now and he has made it come true. He was hired by several artists (including 3LAU, Crystal Method, Nicole Moudabear, and Cedric Gervais) to shoot their club and festival performances throughout EDC week. In addition, he also shot for Calvin Harris, New World Punx, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, and R3hab during the festival making him one of, if not the most published and requested non-staff photographer at EDC Las Vegas 2014.
Nathan’s life revolves around photography and business (his work) so it is essential that he loves what he’s doing. In his spare time, he also loves to DJ and produce because it is therapeutic and serves as an escape. His goal is to just be happy and to be successful enough where money is no longer a barrier from living his dream.
Due to his work ethic, he has been able to accomplish many of his goals and dreams in under a decade. Remember, tomorrow is not guaranteed so you need to ensure that you are living to your fullest each and every day as well. His story is real…a living testimony of someone who is chasing his dreams and turning it into a reality. If you aren’t chasing your dreams…what if they never come to you?