In Black and White

11 January 2008 text Anelia Alexandrova
Babak Salari is an Iranian, who lives in exile more than 22 years. He defines himself as a cultural active member. Salari is famous with his impressive documentary photography. A week before his first one-man-show in Sofia, we asked him why his world is painted in Black and White.

The differences and people, sent into exile are constant subjects in your works. Is this a reflection of your past?
Yes, the exile is part of my personal experience. I know a lot of people, who lives in exile – Chileans, Latin Americans, people from the Middle East , generally – from all over the world .

Thanks to your profession you have the opportunity to travel a lot. Do you think that the borders define our nature?
It’s difficult to say. Remembering my country and the way I lived there, and seeing people here – I see different cultures. I can read Iranian poetry as well as Lorca. It’s the same with music and travel – I feel good in Havana and in Mexico. It’s all about communication. Generally – I think we are mix of everything that we are identifying with. My identity is mosaic.

Why did you choose the documentary photography instead of doing something more commercial?
Because of my past. One of the reasons to left my country was the fact that I am a political active member. I chose the documentary style because it gave me the opportunity to open many closed doors. I take photographs of people, who can’t express themselves in any other way.

Why did you prefer black and white pictures?
I resort to black and white photography when I see the world in black and white. The colour itself doesn’t bring anything.

You came to Bulgaria to present exhibition with photos from Cuba. Tell us more about it.
The first part of this project is called Homosexuals in the periphery of society. It’s taken in 2001and the main subjects are sexual differences. Now these people are free to express themselves. Then I shot other group of people, who express themselves through the art. And then I mixed these photographs. The exhibition is called Faces, bodies, persons: stories from Cuba. Its purpose is to give a face of something that was taboo for many years.


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