My father, grandfathers, uncles, aunts and cousins were art dealers and I was born into the business. Stylized antiquities, minor-scaled melodies and hedonistic cultural attitudes of our Persian heritage permeate the core of my identity. Contrasting that is a sense of coolness that made me fall in love with modernism, machinery, jazz and my native New York City. From the beginning, these important aesthetic backdrops have been at play in my world, shaping and guiding my vision.
My childhood fantasies revolved around coolness and the way it affected my self-image. I wanted to be Jacques Cousteau, heroically fending off aquatic dangers while using really cool scuba equipment to breath underwater. I also loved to look at my father’s Nikon cameras and dreamed of how cool I would be when I, too, could use one.
In this setting, two gifts changed my life. First was a set of mask, snorkel and fins that I received on my fifth birthday. Next came the SLR camera my father gave me when I was eleven. Each represented a transition from fantasy to reality. They called me to action and I knew then that I am an explorer.
As an explorer, I seek validation finding truths that lie in many planes of reality and alternate reality. Whether I am a documentarist on an expedition or an artist working from my imagination in the studio, my involvement in the outcome is the same. It’s about seeing - because photography depicts images of the world around us with such realism that every photograph becomes a believable piece of truth. The images are all discoveries; born of human perception realized through technical reproduction. Facts of light and matter in their own right, once found they become truths that can be shared. Like a dream, each one is its own reality.
I find no better way to explain art than to liken it to the dream state. Like dreams, art relates to a place deep in our psyches and cannot be constrained by rules or boundaries. However, unlike our sleep dreams, which are typically private, ethereal and quickly forgotten, art can be readily shared with others and becomes part of the collective experience. Therefore, one can compare experiencing art to participating in a shared dream.
I am not a purist where it comes to photography. The image always comes first and whatever I need to do to capture it is fair game. Thus, I see no boundaries between the use of different media such as traditional film and paper, alternative processes or materials, digital files, Photoshop, inkjet prints and drawing or painting by hand.
Likewise, I do not work with a single style or type of subject. In the field, I focus on taking straightforward, well-crafted snapshots of what I see. On the other hand, working from my imagination, I have spent decades puzzling together the parts of a single image to unlock a momentary glimpse into my psyche. In the end, creative process is always dictated by what image I see and how I see it.