All images ©Mohammadreza Mirzaei
Mohammadreza Mirzaei, a young Iranian photographer just starting out in his career, e-mailed me to tell me about his work. For this series (Encounters) he has taken pictures of tourists taking pictures, a subject which has lured many photographers to date, the most prolific being Martin Parr of course, but these are by no means as eccentric, garish or banal, nor are they as grim. Rather, Mirzaei has captured his fellow countryman and women for that matter, with a cool detachment to remind us of the photographer´s solitary state and as such appears to be alone in a foreign place.
Susan Sontag's words echo in the back of mind when looking at these photographs. She wrote in her often quoted book On Photography (1977):
"Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs. The very activity of taking pictures is soothing, and assuages feelings of disorientation that are likely to be exacerbated by travel."What emerges is the idea that people seem locked into their insatiable craving to take pictures while on holiday more so than the actual experience of the spectacle itself. I´m sure Mirzaei will go on to achieve great things and I look forward to seeing how he hones his photographic skills in years to come.