Retro Kolkata Exclusive : Interview with Fine Art Photographer Siamak Solari


© Siamak Solari
Black and white photography is very suitable for creating conceptual and subject-oriented images. Because in this style the colors have lost their properties and the balance of the subject's visual weight becomes more important. Therefore, the subject and photographer's viewpoint is more obvious for the viewer. Black and white photography shows the facts better and more pure to the viewer.

RK : Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, We’re excited to have you. Let’s have a jump into the past. What first attracted you to photography?

Siamak Solari :First of all let me start by saying how honored I am to be interviewed by your magazine. I’ve always been passionate about nature, cinema and philosophy and my story with photography shaped with these 3. I started photography in 2007 with an analogue camera with the aim of registering all the simplicity and beauties of nature. I would say that philosophical movies played and essential role in my way of seeing things. Dramatic, poetic and metaphysical movies such as Tarkovski’s of Kiarosami’s helped me a lot in reaching my ideal style.

© Siamak Solari

RK : How do you cultivate your vision?

Siamak Solari : Having a deep and precise vision, thoughtfulness and dreamery are I think 3 essential characteristics that a photographer should have.


RK : What kind of photography do you mostly indulge yourself in? Why you prefer Black and White?

Siamak Solari :My photography style is fine art, and sometimes minimal style with nature focus. Of course, I should point out that I use photomontage to enhance my photos. Black and white photography is very suitable for creating conceptual and subject-oriented images. Because in this style the colors have lost their properties and the balance of the subject's visual weight becomes more important. Therefore, the subject and photographer's viewpoint is more obvious for the viewer. Black and white photography shows the facts better and more pure to the viewer.

© Siamak Solari

RK : What is photography for you – a passion or a profession?

Siamak Solari : I think it is not right to try and put barriers between the two, I try to find a way to combine the two without scarifying my passion for photography.

RK : Were you formally educated in photography, or are you self taught?

Siamak Solari : I am a self-taught photographer who is constantly reading, researching and experimenting.

© Siamak Solari

Rk :What is your photographic belief system? What rules (or lack of them) guide your process from idea to execution?

Siamak Solari : In terms of the rules, I personally consider the composition to be a very impressive one, but I would also like to explain that photography is both science and art, science must be taught, its rules must be fulfilled, but art is more important. Perhaps the right method is to first learn the rules and be creative, like any other form of art and when it comes to creativity, we should not be afraid of breaking the rules

© Siamak Solari

RK : What is your favorite image or series of images in your portfolio and why? Siamak Solari :The complexity in its simplicity, and the visual space that it creates for the viewer, and the ability to make people perceive differently from his own viewpoint.


RK :When you have a vision you want to create, how do you solve the problem of how to do it? For instance, if you want to create a certain look or effect, where do you turn to learn new techniques? Do you learn by experimenting or turn to books or videos?

Siamak Solari :I usually turn to books that deal with this matter but sometimes it’s not enough and I have to either Google it up or look up videos.

© Siamak Solari

RK : How important is gear in your work? Siamak Solari :It has an important and helpful role in taking and editing pictures, appropriate tools do complete the work. We all agree that tools have an important role in implementation of our ideas, creativity and goal achievement. But we should keep in mind that photographers have left precious works in close past which were taken with the least of the features and the most basic techniques and technologies. I said this for those who for whatever reason have problems with providing various photography tools, to remind them tools do not necessarily improve the work quality. The photographer plays the important role.


RK : What has been your biggest photography related challenge?

Siamak Solari :The reason I say this is for people who may have difficulties in obtaining different tools so that they know that tools do not necessarily produce better quality images.

© Siamak Solari

RK : What is your view of our fast-paced digital world? Do you think that iPhoneography or similar is a benefit or a detriment to the photographic artist? Siamak Solari :I think that we often sacrifice quality for speed and it is very unpleasant, but there are some innovations that have helped to increase the quality of art, and we should be happy that we have such a tool. I do not understand the mobilegraphy or iPhonegraphy. It is hard to call them photography. Whatever it is, it does not work for those who want professional photography. In my opinion, it will prevent talent and creativity, and is in contraction with the spirit of art. As a pianist needs a piano or a soccer player needs a soccer ball, a real photographer also needs a real camera.

© Siamak Solari

RK : Long exposure B&W is a totally off-beat stream to venture into, very few would dare to attempt and make it successful. I am sure there must be a lot of trial and error before freezing the style that you have developed. Is your style frozen now or is it still evolving?

Siamak Solari :Long exposure photography is an ideal style and method for photographers who want to bring something more than usual to viewer’s eyes, and for this simple and attractive reason, so many different subjects have come to photographers’ minds and have been welcomed by a large number of viewers as well. I believe it’s a style that already has many enthusiasts and has attracted many lovers. But I accept that repetition and imitation of a few subjects that these days are used by many photographers (especially in the minimal style) can suddenly bore the viewer and photographer and turn it off in future. Although it is attractive, we must go with new and targeted ideas, by following the basic principles of this style, especially in the white-black photography. It's still too soon to say that this style is frozen. It opens the path for those artists who have a lot of interest in this genre, and this is happening slowly.

© Siamak Solari

RK : There is something peculiar about light in your pictures that make very simple compositions stand out strongly. What is that one spice in your recipe? Siamak Solari :Yeah, light!... In black n white photography and my specific style, I bring this feeling to the viewer that there is a battle between light and darkness! This requires creativity, in addition to the technique, to create an intuitive attraction for the viewer, and I show the subject with magnification, which improves the effect on the audience’ mind.


RK : Every picture of yours seems to be a well thought of creation. We would like to know what goes into the conceptualizing process of every frame you decide to create ?

Siamak Solari :One of the most important rules that I follow is that you have to respect your viewer. This is why it takes me hours and sometimes days to think about an idea and I never scarify the quality of an image for anything, and I do believe that a photograph that does not transmit any message or meaning does not deserve to be seen even once.

© Siamak Solari

RK : What is that one thing you recommend / advise to aspiring photographers who look up to you for motivation ? For all those who are in awe of your pictures ?

Siamak Solari : What is that one thing you recommend / advise to aspiring photographers who look up to you for motivation ? For all those who are in awe of your pictures? Actually, I do not really see myself in a position to give advice to your dear readers. I only have suggestions as a friend. Strengthen your world-view, set aside bias, and do not limit yourself to time and space. Take pictures like a painter! Take satisfying photos to be of interest to others. Think well before taking pictures. Avoid confusing complexities and scenes and, above all, do not be afraid of the new ideas that creativity is in them, because repetition and imitation eliminates the spirit of art. Art is the last way to save humanity from this unfavorable situation. Help your world and people around the world to experience better days with your art.

© Siamak Solari

RK :We (Retro Kolkata) are trying to build one single stage for all the artists, because we believe that artists are the most beautiful creation of God and geographical boundary can never break their unity and harmony. Please say something about our initiative and any special message for your followers.

Siamak Solari :I would like to thank all those who follow my works and I would like to tell them that it’s thanks to their support and enthusiasm that help me find new ideas. Getting to know you and to be interviewed by you was a great pleasure and I would like to thank you for having given me the time to talk about my works and my goals and share them with you and your public. The most important thing for an artist is to know that they are supported by their public. I think what you, as a magazine, are doing or artists is amazing because it gives hope and creates motivation .

© Siamak Solari

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