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Conversations with Christian Backa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christian Backa.

Hi Christian, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
It all started through basketball in Finland, a country up in northern Europe. My first passion was basketball and my dream was to make it to the US and play basketball in college. I trained very hard just to make it out of the country since it isn’t something that happens very often with Finnish basketball players. While in Finland, I also had passion for cameras with my best friend but eventually the passion overcame basketball. I finished my high school in Louisiana where I also attended my freshman year in college while playing basketball. I transferred from Louisiana to St. Louis school, Missouri Baptist University, and I have been in STL for two years now and the third one is starting. While I attended school, my best friend created a company, GULP, in Finland and started succeeding in the industry. My passion started growing for cameras again and the creative capabilities that were possible as I saw him grow in Finland. These days he creates music videos for artists and travels around Europe and that inspired me to take a step towards actually diving into the world of cameras. I want to give people a smile with my work and show them that everyone is beautiful since Social Media has created unrealistic standards for people. Currently, I have done work for college students but in the future, I am planning to get into music videos as well.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
My road to the US has not been smooth at all. For a really long time, I had to believe in myself that I would be able to get to the US. As half Finnish and half Thai, I experienced racism and discrimination in basketball due to having different backgrounds and not being fully Finnish. I went to a dark place after working so hard and eventually believing that I was not going to make it to the US but hard work pays off. I had to prove people wrong who said it was not possible. I also had a lot of setbacks in the US such as being cut off from the team and struggling to find a new team. Struggles are what determined the person and give you the biggest lesson.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I currently do portraits for people and taking photos is my specialty. With my photos, I want to make people feel good about themselves and bring a smile to their faces. In our society, social media has created unrealistic standards for people and wish they could be them, therefore, losing the sense for their own beauty or growing not to appreciate themselves. Each smile from my work is a win in my books. Everyone is different but we are all beautiful no matter what. With my work, I want to represent people’s passion and personality.

I do not think I am well known in the area since I am relatively new.

I am the most proud of who I have become during my journey, willing to take the steps for whichever direction it is in my career even if it is unknown, and having appreciation for every aspect of life.

I think what sets me apart from other people is the fact my work is driven by other people and by this, I mean that I want to expose people’s beauty to the world when they don’t believe in themselves. I want people to feel good about themselves and think they are beautiful, sexy, handsome, etc. I work for others, not for money.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
I have learned to accept myself. For the longest, I hated myself for being half Asian. I only heard about stereotypes of Asian people and I daily heard jokes about Asians. During those moments, I wish I was not half Asian. As I grew older, I realized I am who I set myself to be. There is no one who can tell me what I am. I started to study my other side of family and cultures. I have learned not to judge anyone and show love for each and every one.

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