”Capturing personality is my main purpose and I want to portray people’s spirit. My photos just represent what I see at a particular moment,” Mercedeh Mirshamsi said at her photo exhibition, which opened in an exclusive apartment in Midtown Manhattan. Capturing personality is a challenge because there's never a guarantee the viewer will see the same thing the photographer does. It takes a combination of attention to detail and care, Mercedeh said.
“I can just walk down the streets of Manhattan and find good shots anywhere," she continued. "(I) just have to look through different perspectives and be open-minded.”
Mercedeh aspires to be a travel photographer. Even if for now photography remains a hobby, she is dreaming of working for National Geographic. It was with the help of her Swedish photographer friend, Tomas, that Mercedeh realized she had a talent for taking pictures.
“We traveled together, and he encouraged me to buy myself an SLR (single-lens reflex) camera and start shooting, so I have to give him credit for that. I realized then that life is short and I have to follow my passion—and it's in the arts I belong,” she said.
Mercedeh is now based in New York and has a degree in art and design, but she has also lived in the Middle East, Europe and Sweden.
“My family left Iran when I was 5 years old, and moved to the UK. We later moved to New Jersey, where I grew up." Her family eventually moved back to Iran while she studied in Germany for a year, but she then returned to Iran, too.
She studied fine arts at the university there for two years, but dropped out because there was a job opportunity for her in LA, which she took. It was in LA that she met her Swedish boyfriend.
“I met (him) online through a website forum. We had a long distance relationship for a while and after some time I decided to move to Sweden to live with him.”
Mercedeh ended up in Umeå, in the northern part of Sweden, and stayed there for five years while studying. But when she and her boyfriend broke up, she moved to Stockholm.
It was then that she met Tomas, who encouraged her to follow her passion.
“I realized that I had to go back to the arts, that that’s where I belong. So I decided to move back to the U.S. and continue my degree in art and design,” she said. “I grew up here and I have many friends and relatives here. It was a very easy and smooth transition for me.”
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