When I first started hanging out with Karim V Tabar, he was working in New York as a full-time lifestyle editor and content producer at a highly trafficked online web portal for men. During this period, he commissioned me to write a few fun articles. Back in 2008, I had just moved to the East Village two blocks away from his apartment, and he showed me some of the area’s best kept secrets such as Takahashi and Lil Frankies.
Little did I know at the time that he was an extremely talented photographer – I thought he was simply a passionate modelizer (ha!). Born and bred in Québec, Karim moved to New York at the dawn of the new millennium and found his love for photography while working at world-renowned model agency One Model Management. Currently posted halfway between North America and Asia, Karim continuously travels the globe to keep his edge on local and world trends, and shoots pictures I believe are nothing short of stunning.
Here are some pics as well as insights into his art, life and style.
LF: Favorite photographs from your portfolio and why?
KT: It is tough for me to choose my favorite photographs because my work is always evolving, but if I were to go back and choose from something I’ve already shot, it would have to be the photos from Kyoto, Japan during the Japanese flowering cherry season, particularly the Geisha photos. You can tell by these photographs that these young women have been schooled in the art of conviviality. I always get a sense of their mystery and intrigue looking at these photographs. I notice how they are looking into the lens yet they retain a presence difficult to describe.
LF: What makes you tick / what makes you click?
KT: Tick: Narrow minded opinions or views. Click: People who walk the talk.
LF: Being a world traveler, how does any given city influence your craft? Is your work a product of your environment?
KT: Traveling defines who you are and how you are. Discovering new parts of the world makes me feel alive and definitely crafts my work. It also eases emotions and gives me energy for my next project. At the moment I’m currently in Rome studying its art history and enjoying the Roman nightlife. Let’s take Rome for example. Its historic core structure and culture is still preserved from 2000 years ago. Rome has reigned supreme in the ancient world, but has been burned, sacked, pillaged, conquered and re-conquered since, and, yet, through its countless changes, it has still managed to maintain its integrity as a city. We can say the same about people in general. We often keep the core structure of ourselves intact but we continually renew or add to our mental state when visiting different environments. I take every traveling experience with me and apply it to my life – whether in photography, personal relationships or business ventures.
LF: If you could give men one piece of dating advice, it would be:
KT: Smile, be yourself and keep it simple.
LF: What about for women?
KT: Don’t put too much make-up on the first date.
LF: What are you working on, either a finished work or in development that we can look forward to? What’s your musing for it?
Since 2008 I’ve been globe-trotting the world, taking photographs of almost everything I find interesting and displaying it in a gallery. Last year, a gallery in my hometown Montreal, Quebec held a solo exhibition of my work that featured a mix of fashion and travel photos in one collection. I plan on doing that again this year, however this time I also have another side project that is travel-related. Let’s just say that it “connects” voyagers together.
LF: What do you want to be when you grow up?
KT: A jack-of-all-trades, and a master at some.
LF: How do you live FAST?
KT: Travel lightly and organize intelligently. .
Fashion talk: What’s your style? Favorite designer or trend?
I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy, and I’m not devoted to any particular designer. I usually pick out classic cuts or looks. I’m still wearing a Burberry leather jacket from years ago that that has kept up with the times, and that’s as high-end as I’ll buy from a luxury designer – something that lasts and looks good over the years. If you need to buy a suit, try the Prada slim fit. It looks sharp and doesn’t go out of style.
Art talk: what inspires you? Favorite artist or piece of art.
The Maxell Blown Away Guy done in 1978 by a photographer named Steve Steigman for Hitachi Maxell. Something about that photograph always connects with me. The speed of the music airwaves blasting away his face and clothes – it stands for performance in music, art and life in a very modern way that never looks outdated.
Sex talk: what gets you off? Literally or figuratively.
A smart and sexy attitude, and a woman who knows how to dress well ‘under’ her clothes.
I think it is important for everyone to at least take one or two trips a year to shake things up a little or else your life will end up feeling stale or redundant. There is a strong sense of fulfillment when you’re traveling abroad. My favorite destinations today are Europe and Asia. Europe is like a giant summer playground rich in art, history and filled with passion. You can spend your time driving into different old small towns that no one ever goes too and chat with the locals. You can spend weeks doing just that. Asia is fast-paced, and service is incredible compared to the rest of the world. It’s also a great place to get some work done, everyone is focused on the getting the job done quickly and effectively – something I live by religiously.