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ABBAS ATTAR
[b: 1944] Iranian photojournalist - member of Magnum Photos
Even my shots of disorder are orderly. Yet the Iranian that I am ought to delight in the sholooghi a Farsi word for any disorder: the turbulence of a disturbed man, the rowdyism of kids in the street, or a bloody popular uprising. - Abbas Attar

My photography is a reflection, which comes to life in action and leads to meditation. Spontaneity - the suspended moment - intervenes during action, in the viewfinder. - Abbas Attar

The world may be color but black and white transcends it. - Abbas Attar

Isn’t photography “writing with light”? But with the difference that while the writer possesses his word, the photographer is himself possessed by his photo... - Abbas Attar

The choice was to think of oneself either as a photojournalist or an artist. It wasn’t out of humility that I called myself a photojournalist, but arrogance. I thought photojournalism was superior. - Abbas Attar

I know that some photographers have big egos, but photography is simple. In the morning, you put a roll of film in your camera—and today you don’t even have to do this with digital. You take to the streets, you come back home, edit your photographs and show them. It’s that simple. - Abbas Attar

There are two ways to think about photography: one is writing with light, and the other is drawing with light. - Abbas Attar

Now I don’t just make stories about what’s happening. I’m making stories about my way of seeing what’s happening. - Abbas Attar

I am among the generation of photographers who believe a picture is sacred, that once you took take it, that’s it: you don’t crop it, you don’t touch it, you don’t fool around with it. - Abbas Attar

Get a good pair of walking shoes and… fall in love. - Abbas Attar

Each picture should be good enough to stand on its own but its value is a part of something larger. - Abbas Attar

My photography is a reflection, which comes to life in action and leads to meditation. Spontaneity – the suspended moment – intervenes during action, in the viewfinder. A reflection on the subject precedes it. A meditation on finality follows it, and it is here, during this exalting and fragile moment, that the real photographic writing develops – sequencing the images. For this reason, a writer’s spirit is necessary to this enterprise.

Isn’t photography ‘writing with light’?

But with the difference that while the writer possesses his word, the photographer is himself possessed by his photo, by the limit of the real which he must transcend so as not to become its prisoner.” - Abbas Attar


I mean, he [God] doesn’t tell me what to do, how to photograph and I don’t tell him how he should deal with his believers, you know. - Abbas Attar

Most photographers, when they say they’re war photographers, they’re not really war photographers; they’re battle photographers. War does not limit itself to boom-boom, to the battle itself. Wars are very, very complex phenomenons, because they have a source, and it takes a while to come up, then it happens, and there are consequences. I’m more interested in the why and the afterwards of the wars. - Abbas Attar

I want to give the feeling that the people I photographed kept on doing whatever they were doing before I photographed them. - Abbas Attar - It was what he called a “suspended moment”.

I’ve been more into photographing all the bullshit – and the good things – that people get up to in the name of God. - Abbas Attar - It was what he called a “suspended moment”.

My pictures are always part of a series, an essay. Each picture should be good enough to stand on its own but its value is a part of something larger. - Abbas Attar - It was what he called a “suspended moment”.

I used to describe myself as a photojournalist, and was very proud of it. The choice was to think of oneself either as a photojournalist or an artist. It wasn’t out of humility that I called myself a photojournalist, but arrogance.
I thought photojournalism was superior, but these days I don’t call myself a photojournalist because, although I use the techniques of a photojournalist and get published in magazines and newspapers, I am working at things in depth and over long periods of time. I don’t just make stories about what’s happening. I’m making stories about my way of seeing what’s happening.
- Abbas Attar

Younger photographers always tell me how lucky I am for having started with photography while things were still cheap. But, it wasn't like that – you always had to be resourceful as a photographer. - Abbas Attar

I've never censored my work. That said, sometimes I've stopped myself from taking pictures of a particular scene because I just don't want to meddle in the lives of people for the sake of it. - Abbas Attar

I really hope I'll never end up feeling too old or too tired to be a photographer. - Abbas Attar

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