No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.
- Ingmar Bergman

July 23, 2013

The Talent Pool Corner presents: Kimia Rahgozar, Iranian Fine Art Photographer

kimia rahgozar
Kimia Rahgozar has been photographing life around her for the past 27 years.  Though she received a degree in engineering from Azad University in Tehran, photography has always been her passion.  She now makes her living by focusing on fine art portraiture photography.

Kimia is also a contributing artist to Julia Knight's and my project, SKIN: A Meditation on Our Largest Organ.  She has been working with us on SKIN since her arrival to New York City in April.  During the past few months, I have enjoyed learning more about her life, her approach to photography and her creative process.   Out of my curiosity to dig deeper into her story, I posed a few questions to Kimia who graciously shared her thoughts.

You studied engineering.  Why did you not pursue a career in engineering?

Because I don't like it and I don't enjoy it.  In my generation, we had to decide whether to be an engineer or a doctor.   I chose to be an engineer because I like math, logic etc..  Still my passion was photography.

How did you come to be a fine art photographer?

The previous time I visited NYC I met a photographer named Nancy Rudolph.  She read my catalogue line by line without missing anything.  When she finished, she looked straight into my eyes and told me that the next time someone asked what is my profession, I have to answer "I am an fine art photographer."

Her insistence was interesting and new to me.  It was then I realized I am an a fine art photographer.

Why did you choose fine art photography instead of photojournalism?

I didn't choose it, it just worked this way.  Maybe it chose me!  

For me, photojournalism is too much too handle.  It reminds me of war and its effects which is the worst for me to think about.

Was there one photograph or one moment that you understood that you were a professional photographer rather than someone who shoots images as a hobby?

Yes.  Once I was in a gym and in the mirror I saw a pregnant woman. I realized how beautiful it would be to take a picture of her belly.  I took a piece of paper, drew a line on it and went to the woman and asked if she would accept to come to my studio to let me take the image I drew.  She saw the drawing of the curve and she loved it.

This was the time I realized how much I am focused on making what I want in my mind as a photograph.

Pregnant woman. ©kimiarahgozar

Why do you prefer shooting film?

I enjoy shooting film because of the quality and because I love to see the result of my imagination.  Did it turn out the way I envisioned it?

Is there a photographer who has inspired you and why?

There are many photographers who have inspired me, like Avedon, not only because of their work, but mostly because of their ideas.

Also, Kamran Adle and Ali Raees Shaghaghi, two older Iranian photographers. I owe them alot because both helped me to grow during the war when there were no films available.

Also, my friend Abbas Kiarostami, the well-known international Iranian director, whose films I love.  

How have you evolved as a photographer in the last 5 years?

I see myself in a very new stage which was always a dream and I enjoy it a lot.
I see how much I can communicate through my work.  Through photography I am able to reveal the deepness of  a person's being without knowing them or them knowing me.


Photosophy is an exhibition that was shown in Terhan at the Etemad Gallery in 2011.  It was curated by Jose P. Vargas who is also working with us on SKIN.  Photosophy's concept focused on "being in the now."  Kimia not only photographed people who came into the gallery but also filmed them being photographed.   Photosophy can be seen at : 

Kimia at Etemad Gallery photographing Photosophy.

©kimia rahgozar

"I prefer it when people see my work they don't identify a period of time but instead, feel an emotional connection that will stay with them. "  Kimia Raghozar.


While in New York, Kimia, Julia and myself also thought of another collaborative project to create.  This project is titled "Passerby".

For this project, Julia carried one of Kimia's photographs throughout Harlem, placing it in a few locations where people go to seek stillness, calm, or inner sanctum -- states of being which often get lost or misplaced in a bustling city.  I filmed while Kimia photographed the reaction and/or interaction of passersby to Julia and the photograph.  Julia also wrote poetry to accompany the photographs that will be shown in the exhibit.  We are currently working on finalizing details on "Passerby's" exhibition date and will post when known.

Below are a few images from our day in the blistering sun.

 ©kimia rahgozar2013



You can check out more of Kimia's portfolio by visiting her website:

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