We had the good fortune of connecting with Ray Dunford and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ray, how do you think about risk?
My last couple of years in high school I had some serious struggles with mental health. In the midst of overcoming these obstacles, I committed to myself that I would never make a decision based on fear. If fear was the motivator of the decision, I would figure out why I was feeling so fearful and often change my decision to face the fear head-on. Since then, I have discovered that this resolution changed my mindset on taking risks. Now, when I come upon situations or opportunities that push me out of my comfort zone, I go out of my way to pursue them. I go out of my way to risk my comfort and temporary success for long term growth and success. I have done this in my education, photography business, travels, and personal life. I firmly believe if one is passionate about something, yet they are weary of the risks, they should pursue their goals regardless of the fear they may feel. Granted- they need to go in as prepared as they can, but after a certain point ripping the band-aid off is necessary.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am most proud of the self-doubt I overcame as I committed to growing my photography business. I needed a “side hustle” to help pay for college and the study abroad in Morocco I’m on right now, but I wanted to do something that I would enjoy and be able to use for good. As I committed to my photography, I began to find opportunities where I could share people’s stories and experiences. I saw the joy and gratitude my clients and friends felt as I delivered their images, their memories. To be frank, I still feel like I could produce better art, provide more images, or capture special moments better. But I have realized that art and photography, specifically, are always evolving and changing and the most important thing to me is not only producing beautiful images, but providing people with memories and authentic moments.

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.
Oh man, I’m missing San Diego way too much here in Morocco. As amazing as this country is, it just doesn’t beat San Diego. So if I were to daydream and hit all the local spots with a friend, here’s how it would go: The mornings would start with a dawn patrol surf sesh at Tourmaline. We’d either grab Kono’s breakfast burritos on the way out and people watch at Crystal Pier or grab pastries from Hans and Harry Bakery in Bonita. The rest of the days would be spent either at Balboa Park, La Jolla Cove, or literally any beach. For dinner we’d hit up Little Italy and grab some grub from one of the cool restaurants there and top it off with ice cream from Salt & Straw. Some other must do’s would be the Torrey Pine’s hike along the cliffs at sunset and then grabbing ramen from Convoy Street for dinner. Or hitting up Encinitas and watching the surfers up there. But most importantly, getting al-pastor tacos from Tacos El Gordo in Chula Vista. There is no other place with such immaculate tacos in San Diego.

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?
I come from a family of powerful leaders, friends, and examples who have always encouraged me to do the crazy- the insane- the things people only dream about doing. I am so grateful for their examples and support. To the Snerrebo’s and Dunford’s (including our honorary Dunford, Madi), thank you! You know who you are.

Website: https://racheldunfordphotography.mypixieset.com/

Instagram: @racheldunfordphotography OR @rachel.dunford

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-ray-dunford-86608114a/

Image Credits
Rachel Dunford Photography (me!)

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