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  • By Stacy Gittleman

Lians Jadan

Bloomfield Township's Lians Jadan’s career was on an upswing at the start of 2020. In recent years, the photographer and creative consultant worked on advertising and editorial campaigns in the fashion, automotive, and consumer products industries. Recent award-winning projects included creating branding and merchandising materials for Dshow, the annual Midwest advertising awards. A fashion shoot that set models wearing metallic and moody fabrics against the backdrop of steel sculptures forged from salvaged material from Detroit’s once-glorious architectural edifices landed him recognition in American Photography’s 35Awards for one of the 100 best photos of the year. Internationally, Jadan has been recognized by Lürzer’s Archive as one of the world’s top 200 advertising photographers. This year promised a packed travel schedule for fashion and commercial shoots in Italy, the United Kingdom, and Sri Lanka. Then the pandemic hit. Now he and his wife, hair and makeup artist Monica Jadan, are managing projects that are just starting to trickle in again while raising and homeschooling two daughters, nine and 13. “It went from a busy year to very much a standstill,” said Jadan. “The pandemic has affected the entire infrastructure of advertising and photography. Work is starting up again, but we are all adjusting to a new learning curve on how to work safely with many people on a set.” To adapt, Jadan created a detailed COVID protocol for his clients with help from healthcare professionals and CDC guidelines. Even as he works with clients in the automotive industry, though his subject may be an inanimate car or truck, there can still be as many as 50 people working on a set. To minimize contact, he photographs the vehicle and the model talent separately and then creates an image using computer graphics imaging. "From the client to the creative and production workers, many people are present at a photo shoot. Luckily, we have had good weather to work outside. It has been a learning curve for all involved." Born to first-generation Iraqi immigrants, Jadan's parents wanted him to pursue a career in medicine, law, or engineering after graduating from Ferndale High School. After taking some science credits at Wayne State University and volunteering in hospitals, Jadan admitted to his parents that it was not in him to become a doctor. He applied and was accepted to several art colleges but could not get the financial backing from his parents. With sheer tenacity, he began to apprentice with Detroit native Emin Kadi, founder of Clear magazine. On location, he honed his skills and style of creating lush and unique images. Jadan derives his greatest satisfaction from inspiring others to follow their dreams and make a living out of it. As he homeschools his daughters, he teaches them to find inspiration in the world around them. It can be as tiny as an insect spotted on a leaf while strolling at Cranbrook or taking in a breathtaking landscape on a recent vacation to the Upper Peninsula. Jadan’s dream on-location location job would be to one day safely return to Iraq and do a fashion shoot in the village where his parents grew up and his grandfather was mayor. “I’m one of the first Chaldeans I know of who professionally works in photography. I would love to inspire others – others who have been told or do not think they can have a career in the arts – to know with hard work ethic and drive, they can do it too.” His parents now understand how his early stints have paid off. “Once I landed my first fashion cover photo taken in Paris, they started to understand and respect my decision. Now that I have accomplished so much over the years, they even brag a bit.” Photo: Lians Jadan

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