January 2014, Barrio Chino
In 1966, Marvin Gaye sang a song, it was called Sunny. I have no idea whether or not Sunny Shokrae knows this song but every time I catch her, I think of it. Though it’s about a romantic love, its grooovy enough to relate to friendship. Sunny is a photographer. She’s one of those very hard-working and also very talented types, you know the type? ha.
I’m so happy to include Sunny in GIRLS I KNOW. We shared soup the day the massive snow storm hit (which one?) and shot these photographs on Broome Street. She’s got a certain look in her eye that whispers business and also confidence. <3
Where are you from?
“I was born in post revolution Iran and my family moved us out to California when I was 5. I was mostly raised in Southern California but never fully felt a part of western culture or middle eastern culture, I’ve always been stuck a little in-between.”
Where is the farthest you’ve traveled to get something or someone!?
“Man, this is a bottomless question. I’ll go anywhere for anything. A couple years ago two friends and I decided we needed to make big life changes, so we quit our jobs, took some savings, and planned a 3 week long trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and India to reset. I think everything happened during that trip – making work I’m proud of, seeing incredible parts of the world, perspective, adventures and even a surprise visit from my now fiance for 4 days, which was amazing because at the time we had only been casually dating for a couple months. You really gotta get out of your comfort zone sometimes to get some solid perspective.”
Your most recent adventure, go!
“Morocco roadtrip for a week! Renting a car and driving around on our own was crucial. At one point we picked up a hitchhiker, which, in hindsight, was probably very foolish, but at the time was pretty cool because we got welcomed into their home and ended up drinking tea with them for an hour after.”
Do you remember the first photo you shot that you loved and wanted more of?
“Absolutely. There were two moments when I knew I wanted to & could do this for a living. There’s a photo of my friend lying down on a cot with her back to me, sleeping in her boyfriends arms, she wore yellow underwear and the woods were behind her and it was dusk – when I got that image developed it felt very complete and satisfying, and I knew I wanted to create that feeling all the time. Another was from a trip I took back to Iran, of my mom, grandma and cousins eating breakfast with hijabs on at a nice hotel we were staying out in Esfahan, the light was perfect and they were so unaware and natural and it was such a perfect moment, I knew I wanted more.”
Do you have a best friend? Or best hommies? How do you know you like someone when you meet them?
“This question couldn’t have come at a better time because I just had the most amazing day/night with 40 of the coolest girls I know on Saturday. I’m either lucky or cursed to have the most wild, expansive, cool empire of friends a girl can ask for. Of course there’s a handful that are like sisters to me, that I know I can count on and vice versa but in our extended group of girlfriends we all add something special to the pot. If I meet someone for the first time, it’s a mixture of things – if you can roll with the punches, you don’t take yourself too seriously, you’re genuine, you can have fun but are ambitious, than I will most likely try to court you in friendship.”
Do you wear lipstick? If yes.. What colors?!
“So seasonal! In the winter I mainly wear lip conditioner, but in the summer I have more fun with lipsticks. My go-to’s are a 60′s powdery pink or a perfect NARS red, but I’ll venture out here and there.”
What do you read on a daily basis?
“Emails, emails, emails! I really need a good book, you got any recommendations?”