Interview with Babak Fatholahi

Babak Fatholahi is a Portrait Photographer. Born in 1990 in Tehran-Iran, Babak moved to Europe, and after a couple of years of practicing and working internationally, he started to work as a solo portrait photographer in 2013.

Since then, his work has been published in countless art and fashion magazines.
Photography is a crucial part of his life. A strong passion innate to his life, therefore, he sees it as a tool of communication rather than seeing it as a profession. Babak Fatholahi currently lives in Kyiv-Ukraine.


Babak Fathollahi

ZH: Tell us, when and how did you become interested in photography?

I went to university when I was 18 like all my peers. Having passed several years of my life at the university I realized that this is not something that I love to do and I got no plans for the future. The only thing that I loved to do was taking pictures with Nokia Cellphone which my family had recently bought for me. But back then I only took a self-portrait and this was the beginning of a new chapter of my life. I gradually became fascinated by photography than ever before and I bought my first SLR camera with all my savings and my first attempt to become a photographer had begun. After a while, in my small studio which was my room, I began photographing with limited equipment and uploading my first works on photographic websites. I received admiration from a lot of people and photographers from around the world. Therefore, I have continued until this moment.

ZH: Before photography, did you do any other types of art to express yourself?

No, before shooting I was interested in movies and literature and I had not done any specific artistic activities before that. I remember from time to time that I used to collect a series of paintings and old photographs and archiving them for myself.

ZH: How would you describe your style?

Well, it is really hard to describe, but each picture represents a different story, different stories with different people, various emotions that are interwoven with light and color and eventually become a picture frame and a story that I make in my own way.


Photo by Babak Fathollahi


Photo by Babak Fathollahi

ZH: What inspires you and your work?

Most of my work inspiration comes from music, movie, worldwide photography masters, old paintings, and anything that makes me get involved with a new topic.

ZH: The emotions that come from your portraits are very strong. Where do you find your models? Are they fashion models, friends, total strangers, or a mix of all?

I usually use ordinary people for portrait photography who are often friends, and it has rarely occurred that I use professional models for a portrait photoshoot.

ZH: How much do you see yourself through these portraits? 

Well, I would say the portraits I take are my inner sense and energy that exists and exchanges between me and the model at that moment in which I record and share it with my audience.

ZH: How important is Post-Processing to your works? How much technology do you use in your work?

We live in a period that technology is advancing at such a fast pace. Obviously, part of my job is being done with a computer and in my opinion, post-processing should be considered as an art and profession by itself.

ZH: Who is your role model photographer?

There are a few but Helmut Newton is the photographer who has always been a role model for me since I have a strong connection with his work and style. Other names are Richard Avedon, Paolo Roversi, Annie Leibovitz, Peter Lindbergh.


Photo by Babak Fathollahi

ZH: When conceptualizing ideas for new photos, what is your creative process like?

Well, when I come up with a new idea, I will attempt to record it first, deliberate it for a few days, then examine it, and once the final decision has been made I choose the proportional model, and then I begin the photoshoot. It is a multi-day process.

ZH: As a self-taught photographer if you want to give some advice to aspiring Photographers, what would you tell them?

I would recommend them first to have a good understanding of themselves and their abilities and find their own style and never give up.

ZH: Thank you for being with us at ZH.

Thank you, it was a pleasure chatting with you as well.


In collaboration with ZH media

Special Thanks to Medea Mahmoudian