Dazed Digital

Rome / Italiano

Arash Radpour Part 2

August 3, 2011

The concluding part of our exclusive interview with the visionary Roman-Iranian photographer

  • Text by Tommaso Fagioli

We were saying...

Satellite Voices: What cameras do you currently use for your works?
Arash Radpour:
Today I work with a Canon 5D Mark II, which is also very useful for video documentation, although for professional shooting I use a Panasonic P2 which is an excellent camera.

SV: Saturation and exhaustion, there’s who speaks about an "expressive crisis" of arts, hence of photography too - what do you think?
Arash Radpour:
I don’t see the problem. I don’t really believe in this saturation. For decades funerals have been celebrated with empty coffins: film, writing, painting... The Theme is inexhaustible because it goes hand in hand with History. Then we can argue all you want about the death of history itself, what it means, what possibilities does it offer, what degree of unpredictability it preserves. But right now I am interested in museums, art galleries and quality magazines. I am interested that curators, art dealers and photobuyers, operating in the system, maintain a high level of alert.

SV: Hipstamatic, Instagram, Lomo... now everyone wants to take arty pictures, share them, being depicted, wannabe good photographers  – what do you say about it?
Arash Radpour:
It’s alright, is not the first time that it happens. Besides, ours is a civilization that has privileged sight over other senses, and thus it now celebrates the image and the appearance. In the 70s there was a similar boom, although better learned than today, the reason was the large-scale commercialisation of the reflex. Who of my generation does not have a father who holds an old Minolta, Pentax, Nikon with dusty objectives in a drawer, which for years has collected numbers of magazines, and photographed Mum "artistically"? It was a huge thing, they felt as professional as Mulas and Newton. All that noise was tremendously exciting, as it is today, but it did not generate more geniuses than needed.

SV: Who do you particularly admire among living photographers?
Arash Radpuor: Pieter Hugo
, Paolo Pellegrin, Richard Prince, to name three.

SV: Recently you've experimented with film-making - what does this medium offer?
Arash Radpour:
I just started, but I confess I am rather uncertain about its role as a tool of art, given the precariousness of its preservation over time. It’s an immateric and fragile product, totally linked to the digital industry commercial choices for its reproduction. In the meanwhile, I work and I get stimuli by other professionals with whom I have to do. Will see.

SV: I find a sacred-auratic component in each of your works - where does it come from?
Arash Radpour:
This whole story of the sacred, of symbols, began with the Holy Kitty shot, where a woman is hovering in the air, with open arms, with a church background. It wasn’t a Christian crucifixion, of course, but I've received several interesting readings about this image. At that time, I gave to my work a clearly pictorial cut, single images, with a single light source, in which the subject was isolated in large dark spaces while doing a mysterious and important gesture. Given the painting culture we have, the apposition to the sacred comes natural.

SV: What are your next projects?
Arash Radpour:
I am preparing a video in collaboration with the Order of the Knights of Malta. I have at my side medical experts of Parkinson's disease. It was their idea and I'm very excited. In October, it is also planned my solo show in a Roman museum, committed by the City of Rome, about the great Roman tailoring school. I'm also working on a video for the upcoming fashion week in Milan in Fall, for atelier Bragia, to be projected at the White Show.

SV: What do you feel to recommend to a young photographer?
Arash Radpour:
Observe without preconceptions and let others refuge in the judgments. 

Images: Kitty Kay, Rome 2007 (left/up); Nicolas Cage, Rome 2009 (right/up); Ted Oyama, New York City 2010 (left/down); The Pendulum and Fabrizia, Roma 2009 (right/down)

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