Cooking a fish
Reviewing three photo essays
April 17, 2005
In the last 10 years
photography has become increasingly popular amongst young people interested in
visual arts. This is being the case not only in Iran but also in the UK. Obviously
in the UK, the education system has recognized this and is making
provisions for young artists in order to further their skills and
development.With the development of digital camera this trend is
likely to increase with time.
The accessibility of a camera (as
compared to a film camera for instance), the falling out of
high costs for processing and the
independency the artist has when using this medium, have all contributed
trend. We are now able to see pictures with high concentration of pixels
without the burden of high
costs of production for the artists.
I have made some observations in regards
to three of the photo albums displayed on this site which may
prove useful, not only for the
photographers concerned, but also for any up-and-coming artist
in any discipline, who intends to reflect on the world for their
My selection is mainly based on the fact that I am
a new reader of this site and these three are the ones I have
had time to see,
but also the fact that I did not want to focus on artists who
beautiful villages of Iran as their main subject.
In English there is an expression
which says: in cooking a fish you can't go too wrong!
Even we Iranians haven't seen all the wonderful places in Iran. My own
dream is to tour around Iran. It is a
beautiful country. This fact however has been used -- and even exploited by
many film-makers and photographers -- to the extend that artistically
the subject is getting exhausted and exhausting
to watch as well.
No wonder we see directors desperately travelling around in
and out of Iran to
look for new landscapes
and new faces to match these landscapes.
And that's why we have so many world famous directors, but not even one
internationally known actor (in UK this word is used for both sexes when speaking
quality acting) living in Iran.
In recent years these directors have even tried
to film each other, when getting
bored with the
landscapes. Yes, sometimes the Land Escapes.
So what is the relationship between
these directors and the Iranian actors? Why are these directors
so anti actors? Are there any
actors out there in Iran
who are reading this? Please
Is this because they don't want to pay the actors or is it because
everyone on the streets of Iran wants to be filmed (In a documentary
film shown by Arte
TV Kiarostami pointed to the children who were curiously and playfully looking
through the window of the van at him and the German interviewer, saying to
her that they all wanted to be filmed). But what about the
film maker's responsibilities?
In comparison consider for instance Antonioni,
Fellini, Truffaut, Kurosawa and Woody Allen. In case of Truffaut
, the actor Jean
Pierre Leaud almost grew up
with him. We can see him as a child in
one of Truffaut's first films and in later films we
almost follow Leaud's growth and development as an
I remember I once saw a large portrait of the little boy with
deep sea blue eyes (and that is the look the French particularly
Think of Alain Delon) --
acted in "Where Is the Friends House?" -- on the cover of a French
magazine, once the film had been shown in
France for the first time.
Has anyone seen that boy in any other film ever again?
That's the thing. These great men not only don't use (literally)
their own actors again, they won't use an actor who has been already used
by another director
I wonder: Where Is That Boy's House and Who Is His
So, what has happened to the actors of all those wonderful films
made with those
wonderful children of Iran? Where is that boy in The Runner nowadays,
Kiarostami was honest enough to show to the German interviewer
what had become of Mosafer's child actor. He had lost
touch with him during the revolution and encounters him by chance
the man being now a lorry driver.
The director gives him a video of the film
as a present and our wonderful Mosafer cries while watching
the film. What dreams must have been crushed is
this article. I would like to see those people writing about their experiences.
perhaps all the lorries of Iran are driven by these grown up mosaafers who
have chosen this profession as a substitute for the journeys of their
never reached any
So who cares?
But, WE must.
Back to the subject of landscape and people in front of them
as a background: The focus has to change. I am not against
capturing nature and beautiful villages in principle. In fact the environmental
issues are of major concern to me. What
I am talking about is the relationship between the
viewer and the viewed. What we need now is a journey within, in order to get
to know ourselves, our motivations, our relationship with the world and how
get influenced and can
turn influence the world.
And now the 3 Photo albums:
13 bedar, by Kaveh M.
These photos would be only interesting for an anthropologist, and
the people who could spot
themselves in the photos of course.
They are claustrophobic and show urban tribes
locked in a situation beyond their control. If the photographer
was aware of these facts and explored those aspects
more, his photos could have turned into artwork These people are not really
enjoying the nature as it supposed to be the case on this earth-respecting
day when one
offers the seeds and the sprouts to the nature in order to have a fruitful
year, literally and
Looking at the pictures I initially thought it was a kind of
demonstration (or was it?) and then remembered how little green
space Paris has, as compared to
London or even Munich.
Somehow Kaveh hasn't decided if he wants to be an
artist or one of the
The thing is that individuals love to be noticed by an artist when
crowds, but not always when
noticed by a reporter -- whom they perceive as one of themselves trying hard.
This is more the case when
they're not as happy in the situation as they could be. That is why many
faces in the photos look suspiciously at the camera. Kaveh is conscious of
his position being dubious and perhaps that is why he avoids giving
his full name
He needs to explore his own feelings. What was his
perception of the situation?
Was this 13 bedar what he expected? Was he shocked? (I was). If he was comfortable
what went wrong? If he was critical what was it he missed to capture? Has he
more in mind than he can realize on the camera? What are the techniques he needs
to learn? Does he visit enough
galleries or watch work of arts?
Constructive advice: Try again on next year's 13 bedar. Meanwhile
concentrate on your own surrounding and friends. Get to know them
better- their work and
interests -- ask them if you can make photos of them while they work or do
the hobby they like (dance etc), and only then take your camera
with you. And most
of all while you make the photos be in touch with your own feelings and care
about whatever it is
you try to capture.
Look forward to seeing your photos next year.
Iran Reportage by
A good understanding of framing and excellent technical proficiency.
This is a sensitive, liberal and kind artist, who
lets his subjects present themselves the way they want to be perceived, in
this case however, by an outsider.
that is exactly where the problem lies. My guess is that by the time you made
those wonderful pictures of the little girl moving in front of the taxi you knew
you had to be in the crowd to capture a moment like that. And that artistic frustration
which put you in front of a shooting man, wow. Brilliant
Please give us some wonderful pictures of New
Zealanders, perhaps aboriginals? Otherwise go and stay in Iran for a while,
and when fluent in Persian, Turkish or Kurdish go back to the same people
so lovely for your camera and
capture the moment of joy in their faces, when they see a caring person
Places by Ehsan Khoshroo
Here we have an artist who, if born 200 years
have been a carpet weaver of Kashan. He makes a knot between his camera
and the subject. And I say subject -- not object --
because he has respect
for people and nature. Indeed he can go places, especially if he is
interested in film making as well. So please keep this respect you have for your
subjects alive throughout your
As the pressure of producing continuous artistic work, once one
has reached fame could have an effect on ones innocence. And that
is the secret of
why we find
the early works of some artists much more interesting than their recent ones.
Vida Kashizadeh is a poet
and singer living in the UK.