Marjan Mehrabani: “Photography for me -a middle east woman- is a poetic and democratic language to show my life”

Photography as in any form of art has the power of uniting people from all the corners of the world. Coming from Iran, Marjan I want to ask you first, how did you start shooting and why?

At first, I am very grateful to you. I’ve graduated from fine art university and i started shooting when I was a student in college but no one could learn photography by camera. The photographer makes photo of life. Indeed photography for me -a middle east woman -is a poetic and democratic language to show my life. Photos for me are like haikus. “The heart and mind are the true lenses of the camera” as Yusuf Karsh said.

Self portraits are older than photography, painters have drawed themselves opening a window to their psyche or making it a medium to express ideas. What is your concept creating them?

I think self portraits are an infopack about a person. Head as a thinking stand and eyes as a mirror of soul and heart. On the other hand it’s a way to show the feminity that is hidden by my religious culture.


In your pictures I have noticed an obsession with birds and trees. What draws you to them?

Ah, birds and trees!  A bird perched,a leaf fells. For me the bird is the symbol of a free and wild soul and the tree is a symbol of a body. Blue and red,freedom and dependence; two side of our existence.

You also like to tell people good morning with elaborate sets of coffee and local treats. What is it with this whole ceremony thing?

Yes,I like this. In my opinion in a world full of war and violence having a cup of tea or coffee in the morning can make a emphatic atmosphere because I think it doesn’t know any religion and political belief. This is a little happiness that you can give to other people.

There is a big contrast between your inner sanctuary and the bleak, black and white street photos you post. Why is that?

When you live in a monologue  society-as in my country – you have to have two sides. One side is your real character and another is a character that is imposed by power. I think in a monopolistic society humans don’t have color and in the street I encourage the second character of them.

Do you feel safe to shoot what you like or as you like? Are there things you wished to snap but you can’t?

In few words no I don’t. In some places you must have legal permission. There are many things I wish to snap and show. For example I would like to show rebellions and taboos of young women’s life.

I think Frida Kahlo must be an inspiration of yours. Yet you come from a culturally rich country. What are your influences?

It’s true, I come from a culturally rich country but in my culture ordinary women censor themselves and for me Frida is a woman who show bravely her own reality. The bravery that I wish I had . I also love her gypsy soul.

You self proclaim to be a white witch 🙂 Is your camera your magic wand to change reality?

I think every woman is a white witch and I’m a white witch who dreams her photos and frames her dreams. A white witch who says a secret about a secret.

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