Kamran Khan: Next to Normal, Literally.

Albert Einstein has a saying, “I’m not a genius, I’m just passionately curious.” Few people know this better than Kamran Khan.A first generation American from Pakistan, he’s had his fair share of experiences within the arts: he’s an actor, screen writer, martial artist, lawyer, and a gifted photographer. With his engaging and virtuosic photography, it’s no surprise that he was inspired by Star Wars and James Bond as a child. But his uncanny curiosity is what influences every photograph:

“I think [curiosity] is the key to all art because if you aren’t curious about something there is no desire to explore it. If you don’t want to explore it, you won’t grow. That curiosity drives you to the minutia and figuring everything out about it and that drives all of my art and, to me, all art. It’s about someone being curious about something or a topic and trying to see where it takes them. When one of those “What Ifs” takes hold, at least for me when it comes to my writing, that’s how I know when something is a good idea — curiosity is a must.”

Speaking with confidence and youthful excitement, Kamran explained how his passions are rooted in his fascination with storytelling. “I love story telling in all of its forms and that’s why I keep branching out because I can’t get enough of it. I love telling a story and having a story told to me through pictures, reading, movies, and through different mediums.”

With most of his work exhibiting athleticism and fantastical imagery, you can’t help but feel a sense of giddiness as it often reflects our own secret fantasies. This is exactly why his self-portrait series, “Life Begins at 2AM” made him a semi-finalist in the prestigious Hasselblad Master’s competition for photography. As he explains his humble beginnings with photography, this exploration came after focusing more on acting:

“Photography is one of my youngest endeavors and I have only been shooting for 6 years. It came about when I made a mental switch in my mind that acting was going to be a business and that I had to approach it more regimented and disciplined. When I made that shift, I wanted to create an outlet that I didn’t have any boundaries for and just create – whatever happens, happens.  Since I was a huge National Geographic fan and cameras always fascinated me, I thought, “Alright, I’ll just go out and buy one.” I looked up photographers that I admired to see what they used. I picked up my first medium-format camera and started shooting – that was the birth of photography for me.”

At the end of the day, an artist is only as good as his impact on the lives of others. And, to Kamran, true success is defined by providing the same escapism that he experienced as a child to someone else. “More than anything, moving out to Pakistan was a very tough time, but it was the arts that got me through it and gave me the escapism to take me away from the crap I had to go through. I would love to be in a movie where a kid that is going through something can watch my movie and forget about everything, giving him a little bit of peace. Hopefully he would be able to take something away from it so that when he has to get back to his life, it’s happiness he can carry with him. For me it was immeasurable so if I could give that back to someone, it would be unbelievable success for me.”

Born in Normal, Illinois and then raised in Peoria, Kamran learned a thing or two about the film industry and what it means to be at the center of creativity and artistic exploration. I’m sure this attributed to many of his successes. But, who would have known that such a talented artist would find his calling and passion for the arts by simply living most of his life next to Normal, literally.

To contact him directly or view more of his work, please visit his website at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4334364/.

Cheers to making a difference, following your heart, and being good at it.