Mehrdad Naraghi
© Mehrdad Naraghi

Mehrdad Naraghi is an Iranian young photographer that I discovered the last year during the exhibition Photo Quai. I was immediately fascinated by his photographs of the city at night, dark, confused, where trees seem skeletal hands towards the sky and windows empty eyes.

As a consequence I contacted him, proposing an interview. I like the idea of giving space on Camera Obscura to a photographer who, at least in my imagination, comes from so far, I like the idea that the causality of a meeting with his images on the bridge of Paris, at the end produces this article.


Mehrdad Naraghi
© Mehrdad Naraghi

Fabiano Busdraghi: How did you start taking pictures? What is your history as a photographer?

Mehrdad Naraghi: When I was going to university for studying Metallurgy Engineering I found out that I was so far from my lessons. So I started to experience some artistic activities which I really liked to do. At first I’d started to do Iranian Calligraphy, then I play Ney (An Iranian traditional Instrument) and finally I went to a photography institute to pass short term courses.

After all of these only photography has remained with me. I took different kind of photos such as journalism, industrial and architectural during past years, but finally I choose photography as a media to show my personal vision of life.


Mehrdad Naraghi
© Mehrdad Naraghi

Fabiano Busdraghi: What is for you photography?

Mehrdad Naraghi: Photography is a way I’ve found to show my surroundings as the way I see. It has helped me to contact with people from deepest part of myself.


Fabiano Busdraghi: Can you say something about the technique and equipment you use? Digital or analog photography? Dark room or computer retouching?

Mehrdad Naraghi: At first I’d started with analog photography, but very soon I’ve found out that digital photography is the thing I was looking for. Controlling the light, color and some photo details in digital photography helps me a lot to show my idea clearly.

Nowadays I still work with my digital camera and softwares such as Photoshop and Lightroom.


Fabiano Busdraghi: Many of your pictures are taken at night, are dark and gloomy. Can you explain this choice? Why darkness is so important for you?

Mehrdad Naraghi
© Mehrdad Naraghi

Mehrdad Naraghi: I like to control every details of my picture, so It’s very hard to do it when you’re taking picture in open air and you’re not in studio. So photography at night helps me to add or omit the details. Definite Light sources like street lamps and automobile lights are my equipments to get a picture. Taking gloomy photos (Specially in my first photos) was doing the same.

One more reason that many audiences tell me and I feel it too, unfortunately is about my country circumstances. In Iran you are not able to make a decision for future. Everything changes day by day. Changing people in power by elections make many things changes. New people may change all policies, plans and also programs that previous managers agreed. So It makes future gloomy for me, sorry to say it’s dark and gloomy.


Mehrdad Naraghi
© Mehrdad Naraghi

Fabiano Busdraghi: Do you believe that to be Iranian, to live in a country with a culture different from the European one, can influence in your work? Or now globalization has virtually eliminated the barriers between states concerning art? The photographic vision is now global or regional differences remain important?

Mehrdad Naraghi: Actually this is one of the main issues that I struggle with it in my mind. As you can see my works doesn’t show even a sign that they are taken in Iran or by Iranian photographer. Many people have told me that my photos are very similar to which American or European photographers have gotten.

Mehrdad Naraghi
© Mehrdad Naraghi

Some European people may be disappointed when they see my works, because when they hear about Iranian photography they want to see something from Iran very clearly. Some custom, places, controversial issues like censorship, Hijab and etc are important for them. Unfortunately these days Iran is always in headlines. Nuclear issues, president Ahmadinejad and many things cause that people from other countries want to know about Iran. So many curators in Europe prefer to show Iranian works, which obviously contain scenes of objection, opposition or disagreements.

Although many people like to see the exact sign of Iranian culture in my photos, but I’ve taken my photos the way I live. I wear Addidas shoes, Gap pants, I hear jazz music, I love Woody Allen movies and many European artistic films. I read many photography book or novel from world writers or photographers and so many things.


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  1. Saleh

    said, June 25, 2008 @ 9:42 AM :

    hi mertat!
    i was so happy to visit your work again.
    good louk

  2. Asian Photography Blog » Blog Archive » Mehrdad Naraghi

    said, June 5, 2009 @ 5:45 AM :

    [...] View the full series on Naraghi’s website. There’s an interesting interview with him over at Camera Obscura. [...]

  3. Mehrdad Naraghi « White Noise Of Everyday Life

    said, June 12, 2009 @ 10:43 AM :

    [...] Interview with Naraghi at Camera Obscura [...]

  4. Sunday reading: Interviews with Steacy, Diefenbach, Holdt and others | dvafoto

    said, June 14, 2009 @ 3:58 PM :

    [...] Obscura talks with Mehrdad Naraghi about, among other things, how he publishes and shows his photos in Iran. (via Asian Photography [...]

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