Sherry Akrami's fantasy and creativity has no limits. She creates story telling images conveying feelings and emotions, thoughts, believes and ideas ending in surreal and dreamlike images.
Although her work is conceptual, her photographs often look like fairy tales. Many 1x members love her portfolio and if you don't know her yet, you definitely have to discover her now. Thanks to Yvette Depaepe for conducting this interview.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
I am Iranian and I was born in Bangkok, Thailand in 1975. I have two siblings, an older brother and a twin sister, an identical twin sister, and I'm also married. Being born in Bangkok, I lived there for 2 years and I have also spent 5 years of my childhood in Madrid, Spain. At the age of 10, I moved back to Tehran, Iran where I am currently residing. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Photography and a Master's degree in Animation both from the Art University of Tehran. After finishing my university studies, I have mainly been active in the field of Animation both 2D and 3D animation in TV series and short animations. At the same time, I have been actively involved in photography as well. In my spare time, besides photography, I love playing video games, reading fantasy books, listening to music and watching movies and animations.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Going to primary school in Madrid, influenced me in becoming interested in Fantasy and the Arts, as generally there was more emphasis on the arts at the schools in Spain in comparison to the schools in Iran. The illustrated books and literary stories we read were different to what was taught at schools in Iran. They were more Fantasy oriented while in Iran were more realistic. Since then my love for Fantasy started.
Which are your most important experiences that has influenced your art?
During the first year at university, one of my teachers gave me an assignment which was writing an essay about Jerry Uelsmann. With my first glance at his work, I was captivated by his surreal photomontage techniques. Until then, I had never even thought that it's possible to create such images with photographs in a darkroom. Although captivated, it was impossible for me, at that time, with the limited hours we had for working in the dark room at the university and in my little darkroom in the bathroom at home to even begin trying such a technique. But it always was on my mind to begin working on photo-montages, which I did years later.
What first attracted you to photography?
From early childhood, I loved to draw, and all my school books were always filled with little sketches and drawings, and art classes were my favorite since primary school. My teachers used to comment positively on my work and both my parents used to encourage me as well. However, the main reason why I became interested and attracted to photography, is most definitely my father, as he enjoyed taking photos and as he used to travel extensively around the world because of his job, he always had his camera with him taking pictures of all the places he'd been and everything he's seen. We had a lot of fun browsing through his old albums. My first camera was given to me by my father. It was a Minolta XD series. And I discovered a love for photography, which I later decided to pursue at university.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
I mainly enjoy conceptual photography and creative editing and it's possibly the only method through which I can express my ideas, thoughts, beliefs and feelings. I believe in telling stories through the photos I create, even the simplest of stories, in surreal or dreamy ways. Most of the time, in creating monochromes, the tones, contrasts and the lighting of the photo are of utmost importance to me.
Why are you so drawn by Artsy, Mood and Creative Edit Photography?
I really never thought about why I am drawn to it. I never actually made a decision to work in this field of creative editing, it just came to me naturally, as I told before maybe one of the reasons is Jerry Uelsmann's work or maybe due to my interest in fantasy stories. I also think working in the field of animation played a great part in it as well. I was always fascinated by the work created by matte painters and conceptual artists in animation and cinema. And I think I unconsciously carried it forward into my photography.
What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
All of them are of equal importance to me. To create a mood or to tell a story, one has to be able to convey feelings and emotions, thoughts, beliefs and ideas to the viewer and to achieve this, technical perfection is essential.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
My relationship to my subject matter is generally a very close one, because the subject matter and all the relevant components of the image are the elements that I choose with thought and care to tell my story. And of course, my favorite subject matters are animals & nature. Unfortunately, many of the wild animals I do photograph are those in captivity at animal shelters and zoos, which saddens me. These beautiful animals are, however, most of the times the leading stars in my little stories.
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
Not at all! I carry my camera everywhere with me, as I believe subject-matters are found in all locations, and everywhere that I may go can be a perfect location for a specific idea or image I have in mind. The locations in my photos do not exist in reality, as they are parts and pieces of numerous locations which I have stitched and brought together.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in Artsy, Mood or Creative Edit Photography and how do you get started?
Firstly, my advice is to improve photography techniques, and to never go for costly gear. Beginners should learn as much as they can about the software they want to work with. Reading books is important as they are gateways to words unknown to us and help us with our own creativity. Studying work created by other photographers, illustrations, drawings and paintings. Finding out what element of their work attracts them. And last but not least is patience. Nothing can be achieved with haste. Especially in editing. It not only requires a lot of practising, it sometimes takes hours, even days, to finalize an image.
Who are your favorite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
My favorite is Jerry Uelsmann. I also like the work of artists such as Ivana Stojakovic, Dariusz Klimczak, Michal Karcz, Nikolina Petolas, Marcin Sacha, Pierre Pellegrini, Nathan Wirth and my friends Milad Safabakhsh and Kamyar Adl. They all inspire me in different ways.
Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
At the moment, my favorite photos are the ones with the bear cub in them. A friend of mine who is an environmental activist and works voluntarily at a wildlife animal shelter in Tehran called me and told me that they had brought in a little bear cub. The cub's mother had been killed by hunters and she was left alone in the wild. Fortunately she had been found and brought there. They named her Dena. I could hear her cries before I could even see her. Later I was told that the cub cries for her mother and is feeling lonely. I got the permission to enter her cage as she was still very little and couldn't do me any harm.
After I played with her for a little she started to eat then she went into a corner and slept. In the meantime, I took as many pictures as possible of her. I couldn't stop thinking about her and started to imagine her in places that she deserved to be instead of captivity. Imaging her as a free and happy little cub helped me to overcome the immense sadness I felt for her.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
First I would like to thank you dear Yvette for the interview. 1X is very popular among photographers in Iran and I enjoy the curating system 1X has in place. The quality images published are amazing. 1X has introduced me to many great photographers, wonderful photography and various genres from all around the world.