During Autumn we see a wide variety of warm hues outside which are perfect for using in your living room to add warmth. Below we’ll talk about the f…
Goran Erfani - Photographer of the Month October '17
My name is Goran Erfani. I am a Kurdish Iranian, currently doing a PhD at the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape in Newcastle University.
How did you get into Photography
During my bachelor studies in architecture at the Art University of Isfahan, we were asked to take photos for some of the modules. We also had a module about photography in which I learned about composition and colours in photography and how to use a camera. That time I had an analog camera called Zenit.In weekends, I used to walk through the city of Isfahan, which is a cultural city with beautiful urban architecture and took photos of historic buildings. I was interested in forms, patterns, colourful tiles and brickworks. Later, I moved to Tehran to do my Master in landscape architecture. I found that I am also interested in landscape photography. During those years, I had a chance to travel to different European and Asian countries. Then, I bought my first digital camera(Fuji) to record my travels. I loved taking photos of buildings and landscape in my travels. Before coming to the UK to start my PhD here, I decided to buy my first DSLR camera with my friend who bought the same model! Often we both went to travel often and tried to learn how to use all the functions.
During my PhD studies for the first time, I decided to show my photographs to the public and tried to participate in some photography competitions. In 2015, my photograph was shortlisted for architecture category in The 2015 Sony World Photography Awards. Many websites and magazines published my photograph such as the journal of the American Institute of Architects. This was a great confidence booster because now for the first time I have been recognised because of my photographs.From there, I decided to set up my own social media pages and website and inspired to read more about photography and see other photographers’ works. Later, I won some photography competitions such as Big Picture by Telegraph and some of my photographs were also published in National Geographic, the Guardian, and BBC.
Do you have any particular style of photography you specialise in?
I think my background and studies have played a significant role in my style of photography. As you may have guessed, I am more interested in architecture and landscape photography. I do believe that landscape shapes our culture and our culture shapes landscape; this is a message that I have really tried to be represented in my photographs: how the combination of nature and human are fundamental in shaping our world. One one side, to be able to live in a hot-humid climate, we need to wear specific clothes and do different behaviours; in fact, we need to adapt ourselves to the landscape. On the other side, to address our needs and identify our values from others (ideological reasons)we change landscape; we change a wasteland into a farmland and construct a church around it. These are all elements of cultural landscape that we can represent in our photographs and retell the story of living on the earth. This is the reason that I agree with the American Photographer and environmentalist, Ansel Adams, who said: “you do not take a photograph, you make it”.
What do you enjoy about photography?
I think photography allows me to communicate with the outside world, which is really exciting. Through my photographs, I can send my message(s) to people across the world without knowing their languages. This is a power of visual arts. To me, photography is a visual way of retelling the story of outside world. A photographer is a storyteller and the story is embedded in the photograph. However, because our audience are different, their interpretation may not necessarily be the same. This is a reason that I like to talk to people about my photographs since they always surprise me with their interpretation. Moreover, this is where I can always learn from.
If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring photographers what would it be?
I think photography is about being in the right place at the right time. Considering the angle of the camera we use and waiting for the right time to shoot can significantly improve our photographs. For more professional photographers, having the right gear is also an important point, but I do believe with a simple camera or even mobile phone we can still be creative and surprise people with our shots. Regarding architecture and landscape photography, I always say we need to think about our photographs in terms of compositions, forms, colours, lights, and shades. All these details when they come together make a big difference. Often, before I start shooting, I try to imagine what I may get there or walk around to find the best location to place my camera. If I am going somewhere for the first time, I would try to google about the area and see what kind of photographs others have taken there. Then, I try to think out of the box and shoot something different, for example thinking about a new angle or new composition.
Where can we see your work?