Farooq Salik is a senior photographer at Motivate Publishing by day and a freelancer by night. His work includes shooting for Kenzo and Damas, as well as celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, George Clooney, Nicolas Cage and Paris Hilton. Born in Saudi Arabia where he resided for 21 years before going to Pakistan to study, Mr Salik has lived in Dubai since finishing his studies.
q How would you describe your financial journey?
a I would say the journey has been OK. There have been some hiccups along the way, but I would describe it as planned. Obviously there are times where it can slow down, but I have achieved about 70 per cent by my calculations.
Are you a spender or saver?
Definitely a spender. It is important for the field of work I’m in. If you want to stay on top of things, you have to keep investing or spending a lot of money. For my kind of work and skill it means that I need to keep updating. I have to keep myself updated with the software and hardware and investing in lenses. I change and buy lenses at least once a month and they’re not at all cheap. The lenses I use are sometimes more expensive than the camera body.
Is money important to you?
Money is not my first motivator or goal; it’s more about the art. Photography is an art, but the money factor has to be kept in mind. I was never a photographer by education. I did my master’s in business and finance, so when I took this role as my career it was a challenging thing for me. I could have chosen another line of work, but this is something I wanted to do. I learnt about photography from my dad who was a doctor, but he also used to do a lot of photography. Back then there was no digital photography, so he would develop the pictures in a darkroom. I took the decision about 12 years ago that this was the only line of work I wanted to go in.
Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?
Yes, I have made quite a few and don’t want to remember them. I’m from the school of thought that if you make a mistake, learn from them rather than find excuses. In the beginning when I was setting up and not earning that much, I made a lot of credit-related transactions on my card and took out loans, which I’m still paying back.
Do you plan for the future?
I plan for the future to some extent, but not a big extent. I’m the kind of person who lives in the here and now, this is what I want to do. I don’t plan massively for the future like getting insurance policies, I’m not that type of person.
What has been your biggest financial lesson?
My best financial lesson is to have at least six months’ or a year’s financial resources as backup which you don’t want to touch at all. I’ve derived this from past experiences and mistakes. Before, I would earn some money and then end up spending it all thinking it’s a come-and-go thing.
What do you spend your money on?
A big chunk of it is spent on photography equipment. Canon is my favourite camera manufacturer. I invested in the 1DX, which is amazing. It is perfect, the best machine they’ve done. It is the most cherished thing I have and my most extravagant purchase. I also generally like electronics and gadgets. So apart from the camera equipment, I buy computers and new technologies and home entertainment. The moment Apple TV launched, I had to have it. My Mac is my favourite gadget, I keep changing and updating it.
* Triska Hamid