Oscar Yoosefinejad

(BA) Press and Editorial Photography
street, documentary and portraits

About a month ago I traveled to Iran to make a documentary on the ski season there. Having joined the Iranian center for photography I was issued with a government permit to photograph in the area. Having gone though about 64 pages of contact sheets, I managed to whittle down the edit to 24 images with help from others. Looking to get this published in a few places.

Recently I went back to Ray’s museum to re-photograph some of his collection. Taking a different photographic approach I decided to focus on the smaller individual items. The appearance they give in their isolation pries at most people’s curiosity. The evident wear and tear helps to clarify that perhaps there was a story to tell, but with no confirmation it is up to the viewer’s imagination to attempt to fit the puzzle together. In today’s throwaway society it is rare to repair and reuse old or unwanted items. As build quality declines, the next best thing is usually just around the corner.

Ray has been diving recreationally and commercially for most of his life, involving a whole manner of different jobs from working on oil rigs to salvaging ships from the depths of the ocean. Along the way he’s built up a personal collection of items that he has found on the sea floor that range from glass bottles and cutlery to swords and canon balls.

A few weeks ago my brother, Felix, (aka Moleskin) asked me to take a couple of shots for his new EP release. I haven’t picked up a camera to do a proper shoot in a little while, let alone a film camera, so I was pretty happy to go ahead with it. The last image ended up getting published in Fader. Here’s a link, have a listen when you get the time.

http://www.thefader.com/2013/11/11/dollars-to-pounds-keysound-recordings/

Obama's rogue state tramples over every law it demands others uphold

tompullenphoto:

Come to the Fish Factory, Falmouth, tomorrow from 6pm-midnight for documentary photography and live music.

tompullenphoto:

Come to the Fish Factory, Falmouth, tomorrow from 6pm-midnight for documentary photography and live music.

It’s back once again everyone. Pig House Pictures Presents II. Come over to the Fish Factory on Monday the 3rd of June for the private view. The night will include some really interesting photography by myself and also other fellow Pig House Pictures photographers, along with live music and a bar. Come ave a gander!

Iranian Memoir

Seeking Asylum: A life in limbo

At the ago of 21, whilst walking through the streets of Tehran, Iran, my cousin, Merhnaz, was told by a complete stranger to un-tuck her trousers from her boots. When she refused the man pulled her into his doorway and broke her arm for looking too western.

This sort of confrontation is not uncommon in Iran, and by this point Merhnaz had begun to consider her options. She could either stay, whereby, she would be likely to run into similar trouble again, or she could begin the process of leaving the country for good. Originally she had planned on going to Canada, but after some thought decided it was too far away from home and that she hardly knew anyone there. After this, Germany was the next best choice. With her best friend also having opted for this route, and family in England that could visit frequently, it seemed like a more practical solution.

As the years passed a plan began to formulate, she was to go to Germany and apply to study graphics at a university in Berlin. In order to apply for a student visa however, she had to be fluent in German and be under the age of 25. By this time she was 24 and only had a year left to learn to speak the language.


One year on she arrived in Germany able to speak the language proficiently enough to apply to university. Unfortunately, after an interview, Merhnaz and her friend were declined a place at the university. Regardless of this she knew she didn’t want to return to Iran so began the long process of applying for asylum. The German government had split up Merhnaz and her friend and moved her to Bremen for a short period of time before finally housing her in a home for people seeking asylum. This home is situated in a small town called Kamenz, located about half an hour outside of Dresden. Having spent a year there now, this is her story.

Kamenz is situated in the former eastern block of Germany, and although the building Merhnaz has been housed in looks like it is from the former soviet era, it was in fact, built a year ago. The building itself is more like a hostel, mainly housing people and families originally from the Middle East who are now seeking asylum. Some of the residences here have been waiting for asylum for up to 8 years.

In order to enter the building we have to hand in our passports at reception, and I hide my camera as not to grab any unwanted attention. Unfortunately this didn’t fool them upon my final return, and they took it away from me on my third and final day, and told me I could pick it up on my way out.

Merhnaz has decided to stop her pursuit of making a career out of graphics and decided to follow a more secure route of becoming a nurse, whilst attending school in Dresden learning advanced German. She has applied for several nursing apprenticeships in hospitals within the area, and whilst the hospital in Dresden wants to take her on, the hospital in Kamenz has declined her. Despite her best efforts to persuade the government to let her move to Dresden, which would make her life much easier, they keep declining her requests.

In the late 70’s, a young Iranian man at the age of 16 had decided to follow his friend to the UK to study after having pleaded with his parents to let him do so. Originally the plan was to return to Iran once he had completed his education and at the very latest he would stay to study at university. From here he began to take the relevant steps to become an engineer. However, the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war forced him to stay and his parents told him not to return. The war had already taken advantage of most of the men in his family through a new compulsory national service system. The young man’s cousin was posted to the front line, as was his uncle who was killed by grenade shrapnel. Time went by and now the man’s younger brother had also been sent to the frontline. As fortune would have it, the younger brother was re-assigned to logistics because of his neat handwriting. But as the war progressed Iranian propaganda began to have an effect on young Iranian nationals abroad. They began to return back to the country in anger because of failed UN resolutions and a lack of aid. Most of these men joined the army, some became martyrs. These martyrs were blind folded and told to run for the enemy lines. They were used to clear Iraqi minefields. Before the young man’s uncle was killed, he sent photographs from the frontlines in order to warn and prevent the young man from making a similar decision. Determined now, the young man continued his education and eventually graduated from university with a Phd in polymers.

 

This man is now a nano-scientist, and also my father.

 

Due to varying political tensions from the Bush era my family in Iran haven’t been able to visit, I haven’t seen them since I was 10. A few years back, my cousin was pulled into a doorway in Tehran by a complete stranger; he demanded that she un-tuck her trousers from her boots and when she refused he broke her arm for looking too western. Since then she has learnt German and is seeking asylum in Germany. About this time last year my Grandma died suddenly. While my father has brought my family up in an environment far from the dangers of Iran, I feel as though this part of my family is rushing past unseen and unnoticed by me. These events have acted as a catalyst for me to go back and unearth my roots in order to document a similar struggle to that of my dad but also my extended Iranian family. Watch this space. (Images above: my grandad one week after my grandmother died (image taken by my uncle on his phone). Images below that: photographs my father’s uncle sent him from the frontline. The man in the center of each shot is my father’s cousin.)