Meet Reza Mehrad. He is a 22 year old Iranian photographer and student at Eastern Mediterranean University. In this interview, we learn about his experience and challenges in Cyprus as a photographer, and how this island has influenced him personality and career wise. Check out the full interview below and enjoy his portfolio while you read
1. What is your name?
my name is reza mehrad
2. Where are you from?
3. How old are you?
4. What do you do?
I’m a student of genetics in Eastern Mediterranean University and I’m also Photographer
5. how long have. you been in Cyprus?
About 7 months
6. And how is it going so far?
Actually its very good. I’m developing myself and my photography. When i first got here, I didn’t know what to do, then I started taking pictures of students, found some beautiful faces and developed my photography
7. Is there a history behind you coming to Cyprus?
At first. I wanted to go somewhere new that I could study and take pictures. I decided to go to Russia because some of the best models and photographers are in Russia but my family didn’t due to the fact that Russia is a very cold place and my mum wanted me to stay warm so she she insisted I come to Cyprus. After some research, I discovered that there are a lot international students from different countries studying in Cyprus and the tuition is also cheap. So I jumped on the offer
8. What were your expectations when coming to Cyprus?
A developed city and a mixed cultural environment
10. And when you got here, what did you notice?
When I came here, I realized everything was different that i initially thought.The technology is not good enough for the students and also the people who live in Cyprus. I also expected the photography here to be of high quality but the quality of the studios , we don’t have good studios and the general technology is low
11. So would you say you were disappointed?
yes in a way.. But I decided to go another way.. My style in photography is not that expensive so I’m trying to do my best with what I have, Nature and Natural light, beautiful places and most of all beautiful people
12. In your short time of being in Cyprus have you noticed any changes from your first arrival till now?
yes, a lot. In the 7 months I’ve been here, they are really big changes. The city is fast developing.. new places are opening almost everyday..
13. Has Cyprus influenced your personality in any way?
It has made me more social and outgoing. Back in Iran I only spoke Persian with all the people but now that I’m here, I started to be international.. hanging out with friends I’m not used to from other countries like Nigeria, Turkey, Russia etc
14. How long have you been taking photographs?
about 3 years
15. Why did you go into photography?
First I wanted to be a model. l looked at David Beckham’s pictures and I really wanted to take good pictures of myself, so I was taking selfie pictures with my phone at the time. it was an Iphone 4s and the camera was awful. I started watching movies about photography, also reading magazines. then i decided to buy a camera. Afterwards, I decided to be behind the camera because i wanted to capture what I saw other than myself. With time and a lot of practice, I started to develop myself and my photography.
16. what is the first good picture that got you into photography?
It was a selfie 😀
17. Right now, is it a passion or you’re just doing it to support yourself?
Photography is like my child. I love photography, its not just about the money at all. I don’t want to be in a situation where i’m doing it just because of the money
18. Has Cyprus influenced your photography career in anyway?
Absolutely, Yes. Because I could find so many beautiful different faces here like Russians, Palestinians, Cypriots, Nigerian people are so beautiful.. In fact African people in general are so special and amazing
19. What about the nature, other than the people, has the atmosphere influenced your photography in anyway?
yes, the weather is really beautiful for photography
20. As a photographer, what do you think is holding you back in advancing your career in Cyprus or maybe internationally?
Unfortunately here in Cyprus we are in lack modelling agencies .. and there are soo many beautiful and unique people here especially the international students. They could make extra money to support themselves from this..
They don’t have good technology for photography. I wanted to buy a lens in Cyprus but they didn’t have it.. i was so disappointed. if you want to buy a good camera, lights or any photography equipment, you have to order from another country. And the taxes you pay are ridiculous.. The government should notice these things and really do something
Also due to the fact that there is a lack of modelling agencies here, as a photographer I have to go into the streets to look for faces… Most of them ignore this because they are not comfortable with a random stranger taking photos of them and unlike working with professional models, I should waste my time and teach them how to be comfortable in front of a camera and how to pose..
21. What do you think is the solution to this issue?
Camera shops, make studios. they should really do something about the tax rate!
22. Whats your style of photography?
I can take all branches of photography, like fashion , sports etc but I’m mostly interested in portraits because I want to show peoples moods and emotions in their eyes.. I really love portraits. I love taking pictures of people because each person has something unique and beautiful about them
23. What you see a portrait what makes you say ‘Oh my god, that’s a beautiful picture’ ?
If anyone see’s a portrait, the first thing they notice is eyes. the eyes should talk to you, after that,,, the retouch the retouch is also very important..
24. your pictures have a certain mood, why is that?
I wanted to show myself in pictures.. when people are sad.. it has more depth and story.. its quite interesting
25. How would you describe your personality?
I’m not a smiley person. I’m a serious person
26. But you are smiling right now 😀
That’ s because you made me laugh T.J
27. Has Cyprus ever given you any reason to question your identity?
Yes, I moved alone and I’m living alone in Cyprus. And when you’re alone in a foreign country, you have this opportunity to find yourself more. I’m living alone, I’m making food for myself,living without any support.. Situation like this make you discover yourself, your true identity, strengths you never knew you had and weakness as well. That’s why I’m building my personality. I need to complete my personality.. Even though I don’t know whats missing exactly, there’s always something new that you have to find. Every time you face a problem it teaches you something
28. So what has Cyprus taught you?
it depends on the situation actually.. for example, lack of money… you have go and find money, work or make a business
I learnt so many things about people.. there are people who are going to be your friend for your money and the things you have and their are people who are going to be your friend for just you and your personality..
I learnt how to find friends..
don’t be shy.. be social.. try to communicate with other people that are not from the same countries that you are, learn new things from them.. Just be calm and you’ll be fine
29. Due to the fact that you haven’t been on Cyprus for up to a year, how are you adapting to people from other nationalities?
I started being social.. In my classes, I see students from other countries,we talk to each other about a lot of things students have in common; our studies, assignments , problems, teachers we like and don’t like, you know and we become friends afterwards
30. Have yo u ever been discriminated in any way?
31. Coming from a place with a certain culture and lifestyle, How do you feel about living with people whose lifestyle is different from yours? any culture shock experiences?
You have be international and be social.. for example, imagine you’re Muslim and your friend is Jewish..you have to pay attention to your behavior towards the people who are different from you. You have to respect their beliefs, opinion and thinking, even if you don’t agree with them
32. What do you think Cyprus could learn from Iran ?
Iranians are very active people, I think the people of Cyprus could learn that. Although they are very friendly people, I think they could learn to be more active in their society
33. What do you think your country could learn from Cyprus?
They have to learn so many things from Cyprus.. You know Iran is not a mixed cultural place. 99 percent of them are Muslim and Iranians. Iran doesn’t have any mixed cultural city unlike Cyprus.. So they don’t know to behave with strangers, how to entertain strangers an absorb tourist. Iran has so many beautiful places like Kish Island like north of Iran so beautiful. But they cannot absorb tourists that much.
34. What’s your definition of fun and what do you do for fun?
listen to music, go out with friends and have a good time
35. how do you see Cyprus in the next ten years?
it will develop so much, it’ll be one of the best places o visit and study. Also, photography here would be really amazing
37. What is the one thing you’d love to change about yourself?
I’d like to be more active.. I want to do my best in everything; study more, take better pictures, communicate with more people and work with a lot more people here.
38. If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
first, my mother and father being safe
second, I want to be satisfied with myself
third, ill wish ill never be sad. I want to always be happy
39. what quote do you live by?
The Life Without Love is the Fifty Without Five
40. whats the one question you were expecting to ask
Hahaha, man you always ask really hard questions, I think you asked everything, I wasn’t prepared for this exam at all
Connect with Reza Social Media
Facebook – Reza Mehrad
Instagram – @Reza.mehrad