Student, photographer, and entrepreneur Noah Pavlov. Photo by Lucas Mylon

Athletes inspire Concord teen’s artistic photography 

March 3, 2024

By Holly Camero — Correspondent 

Art has always played a key role in Noah Pavlov’s life. 

“I think ‘artist’ is the title I use to describe myself,” he said. 

He grew up in Worcester, across the street from its art museum. In 2016, he and his family moved to Concord, where he eventually worked at the studio of local designer Tina Labadini. 

Over the years, he has tried his hand at painting and airbrushing, and when he was a student at Concord-Carlisle High School, he decided he wanted to give photography a try.  

The pandemic initially put a damper on his plans. 

“Coming out of Covid, I started to explore [photography] online, looking at tutorials and instructional videos on how to master this kind of craft,” Pavlov said. 

Now, he is a senior at Middlesex School in Concord, where he is the head of the photography club and chief photographer for the school newspaper. His photos began to get noticed when he started taking team photos for the school’s athletic media department. 

“I was posting my stuff informally. Then, I was getting some traction, and people were starting to take notice. That was last year,” he said. 

New business, new direction 

To give his work more focus, he recently founded Napshot Media. His little sister helped him name the company — a play on the words “snapshot” and Pavlov’s full name — Noah Aleksandr Pavlov. 

“I wanted to be more intentional about how I was going about my art and what I was really focusing on and featuring,” Pavlov said. 

Much of Pavlov’s work centers on athletes of color and under-represented groups. 

“I wanted to focus on telling stories of athletes of color and groups who aren’t really as represented. For me, having my own multicultural background and heritage and upbringing [and] playing sports and arts as well, I wanted a new way to bring these two together – bridging the gap between underrepresented athletes and storytelling and art. Bringing all that together is pretty important to me,” Pavlov said. 

“Turk & Teng (Triptych).” A triptych of two nationally ranked Massachusetts Prep School basketball players, George Turkson of Lowell and Kur Teng of Lawrence, that explores elements of their inner fire and drive. Photo by Noah Pavlov

He also began working with Brown Ballers, a media platform built to tell the stories of brown athletes and show the next generation their role models and heroes exist. 

“Brown Ballers is aiming to prove that South Asian athletes can compete at a high level,” he said. 

As a multi-racial man — he is South Asian, Russian American and American — the Brown Ballers’ mission resonates with Pavlov. 

“I think growing up as a young South Asian kid and not having anyone to look up to [and] see performing at a high level was a little daunting. But the truth is there are a lot of South Asian athletes performing at a high level [but] there is not a place that they are highlighted. So, I think giving them that representation and the attention they deserve is pretty important, especially for younger people trying to find inspiration,” he said. 

“Shad.” Rashad McKinley, St. Paul, Minnesota. An interactive moment sharing the often-unseen playfulness of New Mexico State football players. Photo by Noah Pavlov

Getting to the next level 

Last summer, he interned at New Mexico State University, where he spent a few weeks taking photos and videos and working directly with the athletes. 

“A lot of athletes at New Mexico State were from low-income communities overcoming generational and racial and financial barriers,” he said. 

Through his photos, he tried to depict them in a different light. 

His work there led to his biggest gig to date: covering the indoor track and field championship in Boston for the Atlantic Coastal Conference in late February. The ACC is a collegiate athletic conference headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

It is a big step for him to work with professionals in a professional space and take and edit on-site photos; it is a challenge he is ready for. 

“[It] will be an adjustment but one I am looking forward to, so I’m really excited about it,” Pavlov said.

“14.” One of the most prolific scorers in the Ivy League, Harvard University’s Harmoni Turner. Photo by Noah Pavlov 

Next steps 

Managing his business and schoolwork can be challenging at times, but Pavlov has managed to maintain his status as an honors student. Living and attending school in Concord has made it a bit easier, allowing him to get off campus, go home for a night, and still make it back in time the next day to attend classes. 

“It was definitely challenging, but I had to work around it. A lot of it came down to me just wanting it,” he said. 

Next year, he plans to attend college and grow his business. 

“I definitely want to branch out more beyond sports,” he said. 

Sharing people’s stories matters to him. 

“[I want] to challenge viewers’ perceptions about the world. There’s so many interesting and intriguing stories to be told in the world that a lot of times don’t get enough attention. I think the camera lens offers a new way to see the world and tell stories for me and for a global audience. I’m still relatively new to sports media … but I think in such a short time and through a lot of hard work and planning and dedication I’ve already accomplished a lot that I’m already proud of,” Pavlov said.