Sam Ciurdar: A completely self-taught photographer

Brathwait Creators #1: Sam Ciurdar

Brathwait is about doing things differently, following passion and committing to authenticity despite societal norms. We believe in doing things our way, no matter what people think of us. It’s why we choose to work with creatives who march to the beats of their own drums and take road less traveled. That’s why we’re thrilled to highlight those individuals through a new series of interviews on our blog.

This week we’re sitting down with Sam Cuidar, a brilliant photographer who has produced beautiful imagery for Brathwait over the past year. Sam, a completely self-taught photographer, once worked as a media director but eventually realized his happiness and sanity lay beyond small budgets, unrealistic deadlines, and a boss breathing down his neck. He’s worked for the likes of Google, Banana Republic, McDonalds, and others and now gets to travel the world pursuing his passion.

I’ve never been to college... well, I went for a year to a community college and hated that I felt like I was redoing High School. So I left.

Current residence: I currently live in California, but my heart is in Oregon

My 2016 plans: As of now there’s a little bit of traveling in there. Some unknowns, but the “for sures” are heading to Oregon, San Francisco, and doing a road trip along the east coast. From NYC to Canada.

How did you get your start as a creative? What’s your story?

I always had a passion for film since I was a kid. I would steal my dad’s camcorder and go shoot things. Nothing cohesive, not anything noteworthy, just to shoot for fun. I always have, and still to this day, wanted to be a movie director.

You're completely self taught?

I am. I’ve never been to college… well, I went for a year to a community college and hated that I felt like I was redoing High School. So I left.

What ultimately led you to leave your job?

I quit the year I got married to pursue more industry gigs. I was able to work on some TV Pilots such as the Mindy Project. I remember having a conversation with another production assistant who said he’s been doing PA work for 10 years. If you don’t know what a P.A. does, he essentially assists with whatever needs to be done, things most people don’t want to do. Get waters for the whole crew and cast, baby sit the equipment, print scripts, etc. Hearing him say he’s been doing that for 10 years was an eye opener. My greatest ambition is to be a film / tv director — and I realized what I was doing was not going to help me get to where I ultimately wanted to get.

My first weekend working for myself I directed a music video, for free, for a band I really like, just because I needed something new. I needed to feel my creative juices flowing again. Since then, I’ve had the privilege to work with brands like Google, Banana Republic, McDonalds, and many others. Brathwait, of course — is my favorite! I honestly mean that! The ability to work with different brands, different budgets, is a creative dream.

What else can you say about going off on your own?

I’d rather run the risk of being poor while living life to the fullest, and doing what I love — rather than always feel like I could amount to more. If it doesn’t work, I can take a step back. It’s tragic when you just go through the motions but wish you had made different choices. At that point, you only have yourself to blame. Follow your heart, your passions, but do it wisely. Always wisely.