A Journey Begins
My name is Ehsan Hemmati, I was born in 1980 in Kermanshah, Iran. My love for photography goes all the back to my childhood. I remember how I enjoyed taking photos with our family camera. Film was expensive and my family believed I shouldn’t waste photos on cats and trees. Eventually, I saved some money and bought a used SLR camera when I was 16. I bought some film and that’s how my journey began.
Later I tried out many different cameras and new gear hoping to become a better photographer – you know all that big, bulky gear – and I started trying out different genres like night photography, landscape, etc. I eventually found myself taking street photos. I studied the work of the masters. They inspired me. So, I made a decision. Street photography became my focus.
Nowadays, I take a pocket sized compact camera and my cellphone, I put on some comfortable clothing and shoes, head out of my house and look for interesting light, shadows and subjects, mostly in the older neighborhoods of Kermanshah, the province of the western part of Iran, where I still live.
Creating Street Photography Projects
Eventually, I made the jump from taking individual, random street photos to creating street photography projects. Now, I think about the projects in long term, I go out and make my photos and then I curate by choosing the ones that are good enough for that project. That said, I never limit myself to anything. I believe there are 3 types street photographers. One group takes photos with their eyes, the second group takes photos with their heart and the last group with their brain. I feel like I’m somewhere in between group one and group two.
One of my recent projects, “Yadam to ra Faramoush,” was made up of 22 images in black and white. This project focuses on loneliness and isolation. The reason why I chose to create a project like this is because of the economic situation where I live. Because of the bad economy here, many people are unemployed and have a very difficult life, which means I don’t see many happy faces these days. I thought I could work on that idea.
I like to put a mirror in front of their faces. I like people to remember that this is not how life was meant to be. That things should change for better. I guess each of us needs to do something and I do my part by documenting the current situation. I would like to see young people like me to have better life opportunities, freedom, etc.
Street Photography Projects Lead the Way
Regardless of the situation that surrounds you, I think street photography projects are important. They lead you on a journey. Creating individual street photos is like cutting fresh flowers and displaying them in a vase, they will look beautiful. But creating street photography projects is like planting flowers in a greenhouse, there they will flourish and really shine.
Because of this, I will continue to create street photography projects. Currently, I am working on a project I call “Hands.” It is still a work in progress, but I plan on enjoying each moment of the journey this particular project leads me on.