We had the good fortune of connecting with Marzieh Karimi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marzieh, what is the most interesting thing you’ve read online recently and why?
A few days ago, I read an article in The New York Times titled: “The World’s Great Photographers, Many Stuck Inside, Have Snapped”. It is a story about some photographers turning to Instagram to display their work during the Coronavirus outbreak. Yes, we are living in a very different time and I am talking from my quarantine. I work from home and my beloved one-bedroom apartment in the Valley is not only where I live and make art, but it is now also my office during the pandemic. In the article, each artist talks about the impact of this worldwide pandemic on their life and their art. The article shared their Instagram pages, so I spent hours looking at photographs shot by these artists while sitting on my couch. It reminded me of days passed, when things were different, and it was much more difficult to view artist’s work. When I was an art student in Tehran, I remember how precious it was to be able to buy, rent or borrow an art book. In the article, Stephen Shore says: “As the situation in my life changes, some of the work I do changes.” Reading this story, I could relate to artists’ thoughts and experiences. In this isolation, I bike or walk in my neighborhood and document quiet empty urban landscapes. The street scenes remind me of Eugene Atget’s surreal photographs of Paris in the late 19th century. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/02/arts/design/instagram-photographers-coronavirus.html
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Being born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and moving to the United States for School in 2014 has been a big part of my practice. The geographic and historical particulars of one’s life are not always self-selected, but they comprise the facts that follow a person throughout her life. This is true of myself, despite the decision to leave home. People change and move, meanwhile places and objects accumulate individual reminiscences and collective memory. The process of deconstructing and reconstructing images challenges the concept of authenticity, reality, and truth in photography. By going mentally back and forth through time, I connect reality and imagination, and make transitions between the two. The labor and time I invest in my previous photographs helps me connect with the past; I alter the images and live in a surreal world of my imagination. Memory is what we are, but imagination is what we like to be. Considering both helped me to understand my identity. This personal investigation leads me to believe that whoever we are is comprised of memory and imagination.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a weeklong trip. Where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc. in your view what are some of the most fun, interesting, exciting people, places or things to check out?
I have been living in Los Angeles for about six years and I have gotten to see a lot of this city thanks to my friends who are local Angelenos! One of the places to go with a friend visiting the area, is the Getty Center. At the Getty center you can enjoy the time by looking at art, architecture, walking in the garden and taking a ride on the tram with incredible views of Los Angeles. Another place that I enjoy is the Grand Central Market in the heart of Downtown LA for a unique eating experience. During the first days of living in Los Angeles, some of my school friends took me there. I love recalling the memory of that day. It was a nice warm welcome to the city, also the Mediterranean restaurant in the market serves Falafels that taste like home!
Shoutout LA is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So, is there a person, group, organization, book, etc. that you want to dedicate your shout-out to? Who else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my teachers in the art department of California State University, Northridge, my colleagues from the program, my MFA program chair, the photo lab tech, the art department dean, staff, and all my students in the Art 250 black and white darkroom photography classes.