The Pale Open Horizons. The images in Fake Desert-Fake Lake series can be seen from multiple angles. The first thing that we observe is, perhaps, the pale open horizons with simple common and identical compositions. It seems that each one of us could have picked a camera and captured such images. There is nothing special about them: open perspective of sights with wide horizons. That’s it! Of course they are beautiful, but not much regard is paid to principles and notions of academic photography, such as rules of composition, light and shadow, harmony, color temperature and so forth – they are thoroughly amateurish and basic!. In his staged photos, Alireza Fani had already displayed his technical skills and precise use of lighting. Now though, he exhibits images of natural scenes from the real world with simple, identical, stripped-down pictures that are void of technicalities of the so called “artistic photography”. These direct, immediate images are leaning more towards “new topography” style and can be categorized under documentary photography. And of course in the contemporary world, documentary photography is considered as art, however, these pictures are lacking everything!. We look again and see the same pale open horizons; a place to escape from time and prolong the moments and contemplate on whatever lies therein: from the beautiful vast nature of the scenes to whatever personal concern and problem we may carry around with ourselves. These images invite us to step into the open infinite space of the landscapes. If we accept the invitation, whether it is to a desert or a lake, the deep boundless range stimulates a tendency in us to get lost. So the photographer, with minimal images, creates a poetic atmosphere. The point is that, after seeing the title and reading the artist’s notes, we realize what once was a lake is now a leachate of acidic water. So these beautiful images are in fact depicting environmental disasters: water crisis, drought and environmental pollution!. I believe what made Fani’s series worthwhile is, on the one hand, their immediacy and even their amateurishness, it seems as if the artist has not made any effort to employ academic principles of photography and has even insisted on being amateurish. On the other hand, this simple and immediate approach seems to be neutral about the environmental issues. It actually seems that without this kind of approach, these images would not have been created in the first place. I repeat that these pictures could have been taken by anyone. Now Fani has done that, and he is inviting us to take a look at them. We look at them and get lost in their poetic air, we think and enjoy this aesthetic experience and suffer from the ugliness that lies behind the beautiful surfaces, and walk by. For we know with the existence of man, such catastrophes have become normal and ultimately the universe will carry on. This is us who remain with a nagging feeling in a dilemma: “what are we supposed to do with the natural?” Perhaps we can get lost in some other places in the pale open horizons and forget.
Zarvan Rouhbakhshan, Fall 2015