How has Berlin become your base as an artist?
I was born in Kabul, but I have no memories of it as I was born right before my parents fled the country. I grew up in the East of Germany, in a town approximately one hour away from Berlin. I studied design in Potsdam before making the move to the capital.
When I was at school, around 12-13 years old, I experienced the beginning of social media. Way before Facebook, it was a net of blogs and it was way more local than it is now. Even back then, it was basically about posting images online: you could send guest book entries, for example pictures of flowers or greetings to other users. As most people, I was participating too with photos that I took. Strangely enough, I started to come across edited versions of my pictures with glitter effects added and some emotional texts written over them. Although I didn’t think much of it, this was the first time when I realized that there are people out there who can feel connected to my photos.
Yet as I was growing up, I kept taking pictures, mainly for my own entertainment. The people of my hometown and I, we didn’t share many interests so I used photography as my way to cope with boredom and the lack of social life. It was around that time that Facebook and BlogSpot came out. I was living pretty much enclosed in the social media bubble and had no idea about what photography can be or what a photographer can do. It was on Flickr where I found the works of other, inspiring photographers, but it wasn’t until I moved to Berlin that I believed that this could really be a career for me.
What makes a picture relatable to you?
In the past, I think people have felt connected to my work because it speaks to many different audiences without being niche. If I’d have a background in fashion or a more commercial approach, my photos could be more sophisticated, but I like that with me, everything is unspecific.
“These rules, they not only dictate what I’m allowed to show but in the long term, they can change the way I perceive things and look at people.”