When we first saw Ana A Phar’s amazing 35mm photography we were captivated by its immediacy and honesty – the photographer gives viewers a beautiful yet unfiltered look into her life and her surroundings. A unique talent who doesn’t rely on editing to make her photos stand out, Ana relies on her natural instincts and artistic vision to capture the scenes around her. We spoke to Ana about preserving moments in time and her bold approach to her work.
Hi. Tell us a little about yourself – where are you from, where are you based and what do you do outside of photography?
Hi, my name is Anahita AsadiFar (Ana A Phar) and I am from Iran. I live and work in Isfahan, Iran, in a contemporary art centre and run the art Lab there called CC-Lab. In CC we manage art exhibitions, workshops, talks and residencies. I love my job.
When did you begin shooting, what made you start and what has driven you to continue?
I started shooting two years ago, in an attempt to run away from the mess in my life. I actually chose analogue cause I couldn’t afford a digital camera, but once I had my first roll developed, analogue photography became my whole life. I don’t know for sure, but I think analogue photos have a soul of their own. For me, waiting to see your result, that one shot you have for every image you want to capture is the challenge that brings me joy. I get goosebumps every time just before developing a roll and it hasn’t stopped happening after 2 years.
What do you shoot on?
The film I use is mainly Fujicolor C200, because that’s the easiest to find in my city. I love Kodak 400 the best though. I also like to shoot on expired films. Every once in a while I’ll find one an that’s a blessing.
My camera is a Canon AE-1. That’s the only camera I’ve owned. I didn’t choose my camera at first; a friend let me borrow one for a couple of months and then another friend bought me the same camera for my birthday. I love the AE-1, even now that I have a chance to change my camera I don’t think I will. It’s one of the best in my opinion - it shoots the exact thing I feel and see.
Over what span of time were these photos taken? What makes them stand out from your other shots?
Choosing my favourite photos was really hard for me because each of them has something I love about them, but these are my favourites from the past two years. For me, real photography happens when I’m looking at something and I see the photo in front of my eyes in advance; a photo that makes me feel something, however small, and I want it to be recorded - the atmosphere, the people, everything I felt about it. I want to have it some place safe outside my mind, knowing I felt something there. I also don’t do ‘mise en scène’ and I don’t edit my photos. I like it to be the exact image my eyes saw by chance and I made it last. That’s my challenge. My favorite photos are the ones that best capture those moments for me.
For me, real photography happens when I’m looking at something and I see the photo in front of my eyes in advance; a photo that makes me feel something, however small, and I want it to be recorded.
How do you think your work is affected by sharing it online?
I’m thankful. It gives me enthusiasm. I think the virtual world is a good thing we have in our lives, as long as It doesn't mess with living the actual world of course. The support I receive from people I would have never met in person has brought me a lot of opportunities and motivation
What do you look for when you’re taking a photo? Are you more concerned with the composition or evoking a certain feeling?
For sure evoking a certain feeling is the thing that makes me press the shutter button. It all happens in less than a second. When you reach for your camera, you no longer think about anything because you already saw it. Now the only job is to be fast, not to lose it.
Is there anyone you’d like to shout out?
I’d love to shout out my dear photographer friend Hessam Ravanfar who bought me my camera, taught me a lot about photography and has supported my work ever since I’ve known him. And also I want to shout out my uncle whose photographs were my first definition of a good photo.