Dominick Aznavour on Becoming one of Lurzer’s Top 200 Ad Photographers

Mar 29, 2021
Photographer Spotlight

Remember the good old days? The ones when you’d be on your way to work and unable to resist stopping in at your favorite coffee shop and ordering a giant cup of that which holds the secret to inordinate amounts of energy, sweet dispositions, and just a touch of serotonin. Before you reach the counter, though, you look up and lock eyes with the barista, one with a timeless face and a lingering smile, who nonchalantly brushes off the customers waiting with bated breath for their salvation to be served.

Dominick Aznavour spotted this very barista and knew exactly how he would photograph him. He walked up to the counter, telling the barista that he loved his look, and asking for a chance to document it. Thank goodness he did because, at the time, he was totally unaware that this moment would lead to him being named one of Lurzer’s Top 200 Ad Photographers of 2020/2021.

Dominick Aznavour on Lurzers Top Ad Photographers List

This shoot was totally improvised. [The barista] came over for about 30 minutes, and we did two looks using a mixture of clothes stemming from both myself and my dad, which gives it that vintage feel.

Although this shoot was extremely spontaneous, Dominick doesn’t always jump into a project like this.

I’m generally a big believer in pre-production, or at least having a general idea in mind before going into a shoot. Some of my best shots came from preparation, even if it was minimal.

This shoot was a surprise, but he immediately knew two things: that he wanted to accentuate the model’s timelessness and how he would light him.

Dominick Aznavour photographs barista on a dark background in a cable knit sweater with sunglasses

As soon as he sat down in the costume, I had envisioned the lighting for it and spent no more than a few minutes to set it up. It’s one thing to be able to envision something, and it’s something else to be able to actually produce it.

The shoot’s success proved to be even more surprising when Lurzer’s approved and added Dominick to their 20/21 list of the Top 200 Advertising Photographers.

When you go through Lurzer’s and see all of the talent, it’s hard to envision your own work on that level. I loved this image, but even then, I wasn’t confident that it was on the same level as some photographers that I idolize.

Lurzer’s is an extremely competitive publication that reviews all submissions via a panel of judges before making a decision. Their list, which is only released every two years, includes photographers such as Erik Almas, Patrick Molnar, and many other big names within the industry.

This wasn’t Dominick’s only image that made the cut, and the next one came about in a very similar fashion to the first.

I was walking down Ocean Blvd. in Santa Monica and saw this seemingly never-ending row of palms right next to the ocean. I couldn’t resist.

Dominick Aznavour photographs two converging lines of palm trees against the crystal clear blue sky

Dominick has lived in Los Angeles his entire life, but something about those iconic palm trees stirs up a sense of nostalgia within him.

I love how much the trees tower over you as they shrink off into the distance. The color and the composition definitely give it a vintage feel. I think it may have been chosen because of how iconic and timeless it looks.

It’s an image that reminds us all of something, whether it’s that music video we watched on MTV way too many times or that vacation we took that seemed for a moment to be the highlight of our lives. It’s an image that feels as though we’ve seen it before, and maybe that’s what makes it special. Perhaps Dominick’s ability to capture something that resonates across the board is what makes him special, too.

Ultimately, I’m honored to have been included in such an amazing roster of photographers.

See more of Dominick’s work at

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