We had the good fortune of connecting with Amber Zurii and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amber, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Mentorship is incredibly important to me. I wouldn’t be the artist, professional or person that I am today without the people who’ve poured into me over the years. My first mentor’s name was Nicole, and she not only helped me by building out and supervising my college internship for me, but she also modeled grace, tact, demeanor and being able to be yourself in professional spaces.
In the 10 years since then, I’ve been able to sit under and learn from incredible people who’ve given me opportunities and margin to make mistakes, utilize their resources, pick their brains and try new things.
I’m onboarding my first ever intern this summer, and while this is new to me and I’m a bit nervous, my hope is to be as generous and faithful to this person as so many have been to me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My pursuits are rooted in a commitment to excellence. When I got my first point and shoot camera in high school, I realized how life giving it was for me to preserve a moment in time. From then on, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Early in my professional career I recognized that although every person has intrinsic value and their own unique story, the account of the average person often goes unheard, unless it’s a narrative of disgrace or tragedy. The most beautiful people in my life have “ordinary” stories of learning and growing, being faithful to their families, overcoming hardships, choosing to heal from their traumas and celebrating life. Today, while social media makes sharing stories easy, creating and sharing with intention takes a vulnerability that seems to be dwindling.
The difficult part in my journey was going against what I’d been taught to believe about what was right when it comes to a career. I was told to get a job with benefits, work until I turned 60, and retire. Then, use what time and energy I had left to do what I want. I spent years trying to please others by pushing my calling to the side, focusing most of my energy on survival. I developed an overwhelming anxiety and attachment to money, and sometimes wonder how much farther along I’d be if I’d decided to do what I know I was called to do earlier in life.
It’s a daily act of trust in God to push back against the fears I have around entrepreneurship, but the uncomfortable moments have helped develop my character, my relationships and my faith.
Today, I own a multidisciplinary, full service creative studio specializing in purposeful photography, videography, branding, strategy and education for mission-based entrepreneurs and businesses that will serve them well, as well as a wedding photography business etching covenants in time.
With each job I take, I recommit myself not to create artificially or based on trends, but to expose the beauty and goodness that’s already present within people. I’m blessed to be able to do this each day.
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.
If a friend was visiting, I’d try to strike a balance between adventure and rest. We’d eat at some of my favorite food spots: Pijiu Belly, Taqueria Don Sige, Billares Guerrero and Mezza Luna. We’d plant shop at Garden Hood, try and catch an event at Piedmont and rest at the Riverside Chattahoochee Coffee Company. We’d spend a day visiting Chateau Elan and organize a game night to seal the experience!
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 shoutout is dedicated to my parents. My mom has always verbally affirmed my gifts and has encouraged me to pursue the creative work I was passionate about. My dad is a remarkable painter, and I’ve always wanted to be as good at my craft as he is with his. They’ve shaped me more than any other person and I’m thankful that they’re a part of my story.