The Next Generation: Sadaf Chezari, London College of Communication

In the Special 60th Edition of Aesthetica we celebrate the emerging photographers that are shaping the future of the image-based practice in The Next Generation. We have partnered with the London College of Communication to survey some of photography’s rising stars and showcase their fresh ideas and new concepts. Iranian photographer Sadaf Chezari lives and works in London and began capturing images of her father after she felt intrigued by his apparent level of displacement in the UK. In 2013 she was awarded First Prize in the Michael Wilson Award and the Flowers Gallery Professional Mentorship Award. She speaks to Aesthetica about the way she considers space when shooting and her future plans.

A: A photograph from your series Places my Father Exists featured in Issue 60 of Aesthetica. Can you explain the idea behind this project?
This project built a new relationship with my Dad. It was an attempt to understand his sense of isolation in the culture that I was adapting to and that he felt reluctant to adapt to. I wanted to photograph the places where he felt comfortable and the places he spent his time in, and how that could reflect his sense of detachment.

A: Places my Father Exists centres around your dad, do you like to produce work based on personal experience or the people around you?
I think that anything anyone creates is inherently personal. I don’t believe I will always make work about people around me, nevertheless, my work will have something to do with my experiences.

A: Your images also consider space, how do you set up your photographs to express this?
I made my last two projects on a Mamiya RZ which is a relatively heavy medium format camera, which you have to use on a tripod. The nature of the camera makes the process quite slow, but this allows you time to consider the composed frame, the lighting and what you want to remove from the frame. In addition, there is also, in the case of Places my Father Exists, the need to wait for the subject (my dad) to feel comfortable and become a part of the space. I chose to photograph his house, work, van and the corridors he walks through everyday because they are a part of his daily existence. The core of this project comes from cultural displacement and feelings of nostalgia to the notion of belonging and home. I think the mundaneness of these impersonal places show a feeling of detachment from where he is.

A: Which photographers have inspired you?
For this project I was inspired by cinema, in particular Sofia Coppola’s 2010 film Somewhere.

A: What do you have planned for next?
I would like to study History of Art at the Courtauld and continue making work. I’m currently in the process of realising my next project.

To find out more about Sadaf Chezari, visit