The painting behind the lens
Water, that ethereal substance that flows and gently moves, is one of the subjects tackled by Pezhman, who has been seduced by photography. This seduction isn’t only due to the fact that photography captures reality, but rather for his ability to transform reality by using different mediums. This is how he creates that painting that sees through the lens each time he gets ready to press the shutter button.
Shots of unique imagery, the figures that Pezhman captures with his camera appear to be old and extracted from a far off world, which lingers in time thanks to the artist’s will to make it immortal. Volatile, incorporeal, light, sublime, unreal, are all synonyms that could be used to describe his work.
Pezhman was born in 1976, in Shiraz, in the middle of Iran. He was just three years old when he was forced to migrate together with his parents from that land lost in revolution, to the promised land: the United States. It was there where Pezhman discovered his life’s passion –photography. “I remember that at the beginning of the ‘80s, my dad bought his first camera. I wanted to learn how it worked. My father had no idea how to use it, so it fell into my lap at a young age,” says the artist. So, at age 17, during a trip across United States –where he currently works–, he discovered that photography was something that he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
However, the story doesn’t end there. Pezhman didn’t just settle for taking pictures of the landscapes that caught his attention and that he wanted to show to the rest of the world. First, he managed to take his camera on each one of his trips through the United States and Europe, in an attempt to record every person and place that crossed his path. However, little by little, that interest shifted towards something else, giving him a purpose. This was because each time he looked through the lens, rather than seeing a copy of reality, he would see paintings, works of art.
Based on these visions, he started to take photographs that mixed together different mediums (mixed media photographs), textures, colors, resin, oil paint and acrylic paint to create unique imagery. Regarding this, the artist states: “I have always been fascinated with the camera and its ability to freeze a moment with the click of a button. In all of my series, I capture the moment and later change its reality through color and texture in order to express what I have in mind. Each time that I look through the lens, I see a painting and that inspires me. I am driven to capture what I see from my perspective, with the precious time that we are given on Earth.”
He has created different series based on that juxtaposition of techniques, which lead to a more profound look into what the artist wants to show and say about reality, landscapes, shapes, and the intangible. “I try not to stick to one style or specific subject. I never want to feel like I can’t do something that is outside my comfort zone. Thinking creatively is a part of the passion within my art,” he states, and with this he affirms his need to constantly change. His creations have a certain ambiance. They are timeless images, as if each image had been safeguarded for centuries until this moment, when the treasure is revealed.
Series such as in Iceland, in which he has included landscapes (where he captured images from an intact landscape that looks like another planet), images in black and white, sepia and color as well as mixed media have been intervened in a game of techniques and resources which recreate each one of the obsessions that Pezhman photographs with his camera in his arms.
That soft fluidity of movement under water is captured through a slow shutter speed, set by Pezhman in order to capture the movement and manage to convey emotions, “with a continuous flow, while seeming to be trapped in time, so that the viewer has a more profound experience. Ultimately, it creates a sense of peace through the finished pieces,” as the artist explains. Faceless figures that gently glide in that substance that diminishes the effects of gravity and that makes it seem that the bodies are slipping, flying, and moving with that calmness that is conveyed by the piece; with the wonder of a well-executed composition.
“I love the ethereal flow of water as a subject. There are so many little things that happen when light reflects on water at different angles. I have created the Aqueous series to show the same qualities and achieve a pictorial aesthetic quality through them.” Thanks to the use of the human body in those forms that only can be adopted thanks to the consistency of water and volatile clothing mixed with reflections of light. It is as if the figure becomes part of an intervened landscape to create the painting of the captured image.
As if they were taken from a fantasy world, Pezhman’s photographs can be interpreted as little tales that tell the story of a wish, an innocent or sensual act, characters that run away or hide, stories that flow in our imagination along with those bodies submerged in water. This is because photography, that magic of understanding, provides us with the opportunity for fantasy and to imagine what happens behind the lens to make it so that that body, that dress, or that light take that shape.
Capturing, modifying, recreating and, above all, painting, as well as communicating a feeling and stirring up emotions, are Pezhman’s main passions. They are what make his images into a journey through fantasy, unconsciousness, mysticism, and the past, even though his photographs were taken in this century and not last century.