San Francisco-based commercial photographer and director Rachid Dahnoun finds happiness in two things: art and adventure. Four years ago, Rachid combined those passions and pursued his lifelong dream of living right in the “heart of the adventure world,” when he and his wife, Regina, packed up their San Diego life and moved to South Lake Tahoe. Making a home on the largest alpine lake in North America gives Rachid endless inspiration and opportunities to create art:
Living in Lake Tahoe is like living in a developed National Park. There are amazing scenes to shoot literally right out my front door. Whether I’m creating landscapes or shooting an ad campaign centered around adventure sports, there are fantastic locations around every corner. That isn’t just limited to Lake Tahoe either. I can be in the Nevada desert in 45 minutes, the Eastern Sierra in two hours, Yosemite National Park in three hours and San Francisco and the Northern California coast in three and half hours. The diversity of scenes I have to shoot within a days drive is absolutely endless.
Rachid’s landscapes showcase the natural beauty of the area. His process is simple: he shoots what he loves.
Exploring light and color is an endless journey for me and landscapes provide a very intimate way for me to do just that. What I love so much about shooting landscapes is that I’m usually by myself or just accompanied by my four-legged assistant Avery. It’s just me, the scene in front of me and the camera.
Upon returning to Lake Tahoe four years ago I was able to sit down with Corey Rich (Nikon Ambassador, world-renowned adventure photographer, VP of Aurora Photos and Novus Select, who coincidentally lives in South Lake Tahoe) over a few beers. During the meeting I showed Corey a portfolio of my recent work and let him know that I really wanted to see my work on a more national and international stage. To my surprise he offered me a contract with Aurora Photos several days later. From that moment on my career has really taken off.
Rachid didn’t slow down after that. A year after his meeting with Corey, he was offered a contract from their sister company, Novus Select, to start taking some assignment work. Over the past few years, his assignment work has grown significantly locally, regionally and internationally.
My philosophy on landscape photography is simple. I shoot it because I love it. It challenges my creativity in photography and pushes me physically in the mountains. When I’m behind the lens creating a picture that I’m passionate about, that’s when I’m in my happy place. You can be sure of one thing: I’ll be chasing light, weather and compositions until I’m in the grave. For me it’s all smiles.