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Meet Marzieh Karimi

Image Credit: Janet Solval


Today we’d like to introduce you to Marzieh Karimi.

Marzieh, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Thanks to my mother’s particular interest in photography and the many photographs she took with her film camera, I began taking photographs of everything that interested me, using her camera. After completing high school, I was accepted to university to study my dream-major, photography. My acceptance was a turning point, and I experienced living in the world through the lens of my camera. Studying and creating art helped me to cultivate my own identity. Throughout the years, my life and the art of photography have been intertwined.

Photography became my second language. I have struggled with visually communicating effectively, and my photographs became a vehicle for conveying my emotions and thoughts.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
“Migration generates intense feelings of loss, isolation, and nostalgia. The process of adjustment to a new life requires attempts at assimilation, which intensify feelings of displacement “(Machida, 1994).

Before moving to the United States, I juxtaposed the contexts of Iranian social and private lives in my work, trying to gain a better understanding of others and myself by photographing private, public, and urban spaces. My sense of displacement involved the separation from cherished belongings, family, friends, and familiar landscapes and urban environments.

After moving to the United States, I began to investigate and ponder the meaning of identity more than before. At the same time, a sense of great loneliness compelled me to think about my past, migration, education, new surroundings, new life, and above all, about my self. As a result, the idea of remembering things past resonated in my notes and my work.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I create work that does not belong to a specific time or place; rather, the images I make distort place and time. I always start with photography, the “truthful” medium. But the process of manipulating photography’s visual information makes the final work more poetic and utopian rather than authentic. When images are distorted, the viewer becomes more aware of every detail and might analyze why certain moments in a photograph are being manipulated.

My photographs deconstruct and rebuild spaces. My photographic archive of landscapes, urban, and suburban places undergoes a transformation to convey a sense of displacement. In a world of borders that separate people, races, and places, I make fictional “wonderlands” in which time and space are distorted.

What’s your favorite memory from childhood?
My father graduated from the same school I attended years later. He majored in geography. I remember he invented a game that became a common childhood entertainment for my older sister and me. We used to climb his bookshelf, retrieve his huge book about world geography, bring it down to our red carpet, and go to the page showing flags of all countries. That was when the game began.

The first player had to describe two features of a flag, either color or shape, and the other player had a specific amount of time to guess the country. This is the way we started learning about the world, its borders, and how everyone lives in the same world, but in different parts with different languages.

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