June 24, 2022
NOTES ON A LANDSCAPE
IN CONVERSATION WITH MOSTAFA NODEH
Photography by Mostafa Nodeh
Interview by Melanie Meggs
Very poetic and existential in nature, Mostafa Nodeh’s photography invites us to reflect on the deeper questions in life. What is the meaning of it? How are we spending it? Or to engage with more politically charged questions such as which lives matter? Or who is disposable?
Mostafa is an Iranian artist and self-taught photographer based in Guilan, on the northern coast of Iran. He is known for his captivating symbolic minimalist landscape photographs in black and white. The barren landscapes, footsteps in the snow, birds flying towards freedom, tiny people against large constructions, ladders, and winding roads can be interpreted as metaphors of life. They all hint of a journey, a long slow walk and the paths there are to choose within it.
Mostafa’s world could in many ways be described as a world of contrasts. At first we are struck by the beauty and simplicity of Mostafa's work, however, beneath this facade hides deeper meaningful philosophies. The dark shadows, strong lines and sharp geometric shapes create a striking presence, as Mostafa describes, "like an emerging storm they hint of unease, which is further empathized by the distance to the subjects that appear small against large landscapes, constructions and the overall brutal and raw force of nature." At the same time, the light, warm tones and soft organic textures emit a strong sense of serenity, peace and hope. "A calm after a storm and the promise of a bright future."
With a background in painting and while photography is his preferred medium today, Mostafa recognises a strong link between painting and photography, often combining aspects of both into his working process, and is visible in the photographs themselves. Mostafa's minimalist works are a combination of preconceived ideas, often inspired by his own thoughts and dreams, and chance and coincidence, twisting the notion of time and space, making it impossible for us to anchor in any reality to us. His masterful transitions between light and shadow, the texture, tone, shading and color, which at times resemble aspects of painting, but also in his dreamlike treatment of the subject matter and in the overall composition. Like a line drawing...a pencil never leaving the paper...each photograph seems somehow connected to one another, leaving us space for interpretation and for us to weave our own surreal and whimsical tale.
“To me, minimal photography is an art in the way that artists learn how to omit the extra elements which seem to be very necessary in such a hectic life. I see it as an international language to communicate with the people round the world.”