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john narvali

John Narvali

Photographer, Narvali Digital Photography
Creative Photography, 1975

John Narvali’s commercial photography work takes him all over the globe. He has met with world figures including presidents, prime ministers, “people like Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul… Photography’s been a really good business. I lead a charmed life.”

But John has never forgotten his beginnings, both as a Humber student and well before that.

“If you came to our house and my mother or dad didn’t know you, but they knew you were hungry, they would let you in. They used to bring people from the streets in for dinner. Our whole household was like that.”

It’s a mindset, he says, that developed because “someone mentored you, someone walked you through it.” For an ever-growing number of young photographers, John is that person. Each year, one Humber Creative Photography student becomes the recipient of the Narvali Digital Photography Limited Award for the best portrait portfolio. In addition to funding this “token of giving back,” John donates equipment to the program, seeks out Humber students for internships, and hires Humber graduates to assist on shoots.

He has also helped to pave the way for student success by sitting on the Humber College Advisory Board. Back in his own student days, “there was no money available, but you still had to pay for your own cameras.” The Board was instrumental in bringing in cameras for student use through industry sponsorships – which, like the annual award, helps ease the financial strains of student life.

John says that funding the annual photography award is “so easy to do… it’s not a big deal.” As for the rest of the well-rounded support he provides as a Humber alumnus, it certainly seems to align with how his studio does business: “We over-deliver,” he says, “to take it to the next stage.”