Shades of Winter

C | Canon AE1

F | Fujicolor Superia X-Tra 400

The city comes alive when the weather cools here in Sydney. 

There is a certain windy breeze about that just makes everything a little more interesting, the sky gets bluer, the root vegetables at the markets double in size, the galleries draw you in, the pubs sound more enticing, and you feel like trying things just for the hell of it. The creatures of habit are still swimming in the crispy rock pools every morning, but the rest of the day we retreat back to the city layered in coats for whatever weather Sydney throws at us that day. And we’re ready for all of it.

Life is seasonal… Here’s a snapshot of my current one. 

West is Best

C | Pentax MX

F | Can’t remember and my negatives are 800km away

The title says it all. There’s something special about Western Australia. It’s so vastly different from the East Coast of this massive continent. Strangely enough I felt I knew that landscape before I’d ever been there. I grew up reading the wonderful lyricism of Tim Winton – his book Blueback features in one of my earliest memories where I’m reading alone. I’ve read many more of his works since, and I’ve realised that he places a strong emphasis on the way place and landscape shape us as people. 

I was lucky enough to score a couple of weeks in the southwestern part of Australia for work. These are some photos from that couple of weeks. 

One thousand welcomes

C | Pentax K1000

F | Fujifilm Superia 400

This is the land where all greetings are accompanied by mint tea and locals ride their donkey side-saddle.

This is the land of the unexpected; where rolling green hills, turn to rock, then to sand.

This is the land of tradition and religion, where the sun moves to the sound of a prayer.

This is Morocco, the land of one thousand welcomes. One thousand tagines await you.

El Gran Escape

C | Nikon FE2 and Nikon F3

F | Kodak Portra & Kodak Ektar

El Gran Escape is the name of a photo zine I started last year. The name means “the great escape” and is about the feeling or sensation of seeing things for the first time. I mean, that fresh feeling of seeing something unique that will last a few seconds before it’s gone. These photographs appear in the first three volumes I released, and were taken during 2018 and 2019 in New York, Oaxaca and Ecuador. El Gran Escape gets its name from a radio program listened to in a trip to Chile, about 5 years ago. I used to wander around listening to this radio station which had great music and the name stuck with me till today. In the end, this is kind of a getaway for me. To wander around, waiting for things to happen and making photographs.



Shot on a Pentax MX.

Shot with Ilford HP5 & Kodak 400.

Mexico City exists in its own universe. When you cram over twenty million people into a relatively small area, you’re bound to have interesting results. I spent ten days roaming around Mexico City and couldn’t get enough of it. After months living in a small village on the coast in southern Mexico, the sheer quantity of people meant that there was a constant source of entertainment wherever I looked. It was people watching on steroids.

I think the photo that has stuck with me from my time there is the shot of the large mural painted on the side of the building. Wherever you look in CDMX there’s art – it’s everywhere. It’s the message behind this one that resonated with me most…

‘Soy porque somos’ translates most simply in English to ‘ I am because we are.’

@wolffonabicycle & @isurfbecauseproject


Shot on a Pentax ME and Olympus Stylus 

Shot with Kodak Portra 400, Kodak ultramax 400, and Fuji Superia 800 

I went to Brazil in an attempt to understand my heritage, and came back even more confused. I arrived in the midst of the presidential election to a man who is not opposed to a military dictatorship, and who encourages hate crimes against women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. The constructed idea I had of my identity was slipping away from me. 

But soon I started to discover that underneath the systematic corruption, racism, drug wars, and misogyny, there is a "counter- culture" rich in acceptance that's trying to heal the pain from the past few hundred years. And the more people I met and the more I learned about Brazilian history, I started to understand that this most recent culture based on fear and hate is the true counterculture. The Afro-Brazilian idols that sneak their way into everyday life; the drums and singing that free the spirit when the body is trapped. They have been there since the beginning and they're not going anywhere. 

Even though they know those scars will never heal, Brazilians have no problem covering them up with tattoos. They are masters at turning life into art, and art into life. 

I can never begin to imagine to capture Brazil's essence on a negative, but here's my attempt. It's an ode to the devoted and passionate people in the organic farming and agroforestry movement, who spend every day of their lives laboring under the tropical sun to restore land wrecked from cattle grazing and deforestation. Or the old Caiçara woman that lived on the remote side of an island her whole life, and watched as a biological hotspot turned into a tourist trap. To the locals who lent Havianas to the idiot gringas that decided it was a good idea to walk barefoot on the sand streets at noon; to the people who showed me their secret spots on the river. 

And to the river that feeds the town and the trees, vines that intertwine in sacred forests, bromeliads in high branches, and the smell of rotting jackfruit. 

To the streets of carnival, where the company of music and the moon keep you safe at night. 

Fui ao Brasil na tentativa de entender minha herança e voltei ainda com duvida. Cheguei no meio da eleição presidencial a um homem que não se opõe a uma ditadura militar e que incentiva crimes de ódio contra mulheres, pessoas de cor e a comunidade LGBTQ. A ideia construída que eu tinha de meu identidade estava se afastando de mim.
Mas logo comecei a descobrir que, sob a corrupção sistemática, o racismo, as guerras das drogas e a misoginia, há uma "contra-cultura" rica em aceitação que tenta curar a dor dos últimos cem anos. E quanto mais pessoas eu conheci e mais aprendi sobre a história do Brasil, comecei a entender que essa cultura mais recente baseada no medo e no ódio é a verdadeira contracultura. Os ídolos afro-brasileiros que se infiltram na vida; os tambores e canções que libertam o espírito quando o corpo está preso. Eles estiveram lá desde o começo e não vão a lugar nenhum.

Mesmo que essas cicatrizes possam nunca sarar os brasileiros não têm problema em cobri-las com tatuagens. Eles são mestres em transformar vida em arte e arte em vida.

Eu nunca posso começar a imaginar capturar a essência do Brasil com fotografia, mas aqui eu vou tentar. É uma ode às pessoas dedicadas e apaixonadas no movimento da agricultura orgânica e agrofloresta, que passam os dias todos de suas vidas trabalhando debaixo do sol tropical para restaurar as terras destruídas pelo desmatamento e gado. Ou a caiçara que viveu no lado remoto de uma ilha durante toda a sua vida, e viu como um local biológico se tornou uma armadilha para turistas. Para os habitantes locais que emprestaram as Havianas aos idiotas gringas que decidiram que era uma boa ideia andar descalço nas ruas de areia ao meio-dia; para as pessoas que me mostraram seus pontos secretos no rio.

E para o rio que alimenta a cidade e as árvores, trepadeiras que se entrelaçam em florestas sagradas, bromélias em galhos altos e o cheiro de jaca podre.

Para as ruas do carnaval, onde a companhia da música e da lua te mantém seguro à noite.

Tajdeed, A Collection of Self Portraits

Laleh koochooloo” he would say, “ba mooyeh ferferi va cheshmahay ke gondetar azmah” or in English, “Little tulip, with curls painted in gold and eyes bigger than the moon.” My grandfather–or to me, Baba– would hold me tight reciting the Farsi hymn while the six year old me would relentlessly contend. Twenty three years old today, I would do anything to go back and embrace the hugs of my late Baba. Genetically speaking, Persian blood circulates through my veins. Culturally, I define myself as a privileged American women who is distanced from the lineage I am akin to. Descendants of the Qajar dynasty, my family lived a fortunate and untroubled life prior to the 1978 Iranian revolution. However, since the migration of my family and the division amongst the country, understanding my heritage has been rather difficult. Baba, regardless of losing the land he once called home, continued to speak of his country in high regard pressing me to value and be knowledgeable of my roots.

Prior to taking the Special Collections Archives class, I was fairly unaware and disengaged from my background. My research originally stemmed from my interests in fashion photography and evolved into a project that would inherently transform me. After a visit to the de Young Museum in San Francisco, I was especially inspired by the Muslim Contemporary Fashion Exhibition and decided to pursue questioning my cultural assumptions rather than try to answer them. Utilizing the archives allowed me to become familiar with the traditions of my culture and cultivated an understanding with the feelings I once remember Baba faintly expressing.

Title, is a collection of self portraits that symbolize the juxtaposition of disconnection and connection I experience towards my heritage. Each 35mm photograph contains an element of the seven different components displayed at Haft seen. In Iran, the New year or in Farsi, Nowruz, begins with the advent of spring. When the 1979 revolution ceased with Persia becoming the Islamic Republic of Iran, the new government tried to scale back the level to which Nowruz is celebrated. In a nation that was fragmented to the point of revolt, the prospect of losing Nowruz prompted furious pushback that was too overwhelming to brush aside. Haft seen is a traditional table setup that is displayed with a collection of items symbolizing renewal and a different hope for the new year.  Each of the elements I have chosen to incorporate within my photographs bear a specific interpretation that I have defined below. Including these elements not only symbolizes the connection to my Persian descent but also acts as the physical tribute to the renewal of a lost relationship. The shawl I have used in order to disguise my identity is a reenactment of the barrier that lies between myself and my culture.

I have only scraped the surface into understanding my cultural identity and the many stories I have yet to discover. With that, I harbor a sweet and exciting venture relating to this quarter’s archival findings that I plan to embark on in my future works. And though Baba is no longer with me, I dedicate this project to him for inspiring me to run with my curiosity and harness my intellectual ability to question and challenge myself with thoughts and ideas. For it is better to question than remain ignorant.

“Tulips are delicate flowers by nature. A mild wind properly timed can prove fatal. But tulips do not die. They are perennial. Between blooms, they prepare.” - activist, Melody Moezzi

Tulip– Symbol of rebirth

Vinegar– Symbol of patience and wisdom that comes with aging

Saffron– Symbol for abundance, quest for truth

Gold fish– Symbol of Life

Garlic– Symbol of medicine and taking care of oneself

Sprouts– Symbol rebirth and renewal