2013 - 'Photography from Nowhere', Interview, Depth Catalogue (Publisher: Mohsen Gallery)

Publisher: Mohsen Gallery, Tehran, Iran

Photography from Nowhere

Interview with Mohsen Shahmardi By Saleh Tasbihi

Tasbihi: The photos in this collection suggest solitude, quiescence and silence. In this sense, one cannot talk more on them or play with words to explain them. Where did you start the procedure to find such an attitude?

Shahmardi: There are various techniques in photography.Some photographers take only one shot from the subject, while some others become seriously involved in the subject and take shots again and again. I belong to the second group. I think the reality is not the thing to be grasped in the first glance. Rather, it has been buried in uncertainty somewhere in the background. This is why I select a number of my first good shots of the subject and then return to it and proceed to the point where I feel it is the final point.

Tasbihi: What are the characteristics of this finalpoint?

Shahmardi: When I take photos of a subject or an atmosphere, I must get a sort of feeling. In the absence of this feeling, there is no point in continuing photography from that subject or atmosphere.

Tasbihi: The types of pictures presented in this collection are not unprecedented in the history of Iranian and world photography. There is, however, a sort of sense and sensibility in your works that make them distinct. What elements, in your opinion, make your works distinctive?

Shahmardi: It is for a few years I am working with this type of sense and sensibility. I may continue this for years. This sense and sensibility motivate me work on this form of photography. To be true, I a munder the serious influence of American photographer Robert Adams. On the other hand, as a graduate of cinematic arts, I think cinema has had its influence on my works, too.

Tasbihi: It seems your attitude toward photography is not that much subjective. I mean, you focus more on stage and atmosphere than the subject in your frames. How much you are personally interested in solitude and feeling the atmosphere?

Shahmardi: It is my opinion that any subject must be defined based on its environment and the atmosphere. The work of an artist is the result of his observation and his mental concerns of life and the living environment around him. I travel a lot. Four or five years ago I started working on the deserts in southern Iran. They were quiescent, empty and barren lands in nowhere. It was an appropriately zoned place for my project. Those shots laid the foundations for my current collection. Perhaps my works refer to a certain time than a certain place.