Taking portraits of customers while their food is cooking, Oxford-based Kazem Hakimi uses available lighting at the back of his takeaway shop.
Since beginning the project back in 2014, Kazem has photographed nearly 300 locals coming to his shop. Struggling to find time to photograph due to working at the Oxford Fish Shop, Kazem has used what was available to him – a self-made studio in the garden at the back of the shop.
Experienced photographer, Kazem, describes his subjects as his friends. We caught up with him to talk about the process behind the images.
PW: Did you train as a photographer?
KH: I studied photography at Richmond-upon-Thames College and then pursued my own projects.
PW: Would you like to be a professional/full-time photographer?
KH: I would only like to be a professional/full-time photographer if I could work on assignments which were interesting and close to my heart. I have been working on the OX4 project since January 2014 and it’s ongoing. It includes at least 300 portraits so far.
PW: Tell us about your process and your “studio” set up. How do people respond to your requests?
KH: For this project, I have used a white wall at the back of my fish and chip shop as a background. I use natural light and take the pictures at various times during the day. By being quick and informal the subjects do not have time to become self-conscious or bored. Generally speaking, most people readily agree to be photographed since I have a friendly relationship with my customers.
PW: How have the images been presented currently?
KH: I’ve produced a Blurb Book and the work has also been presented in various online national newspapers such as The New Review of the Observer and The Guardian website.
PW: Have any photographers influenced your work? How long do you anticipate making the project?Are you interested in finding a publisher for the project?
HK: For this particular project I have had minimal influence from other photographers and it is in totally my own style. I will continue this project until I see I can no longer add to the value of the portraits. I would love to have a book of these portraits published and exhibit them too’.
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