If it ain’t Baroque, don’t mint it: the latest from Peyman Naderi

By Virginia Valenzuela, Arts Editor

Enveloped in black and green, her pale skin and fiery hair force your eyes to meet. Her gaze is serious, wanting; her eyes deep blue, and surrounded by shadow. The Elizabethan ruff around her neck illustrates her nobility, her restraint, perpetuated further by the serenity of her hands laying clasped in her lap. She is Lorca, a creation of artist Peyman Naderi, whose love of all things Baroque and Rococo has led us into the secret life of a girl lost in art history.

Peyman Naderi began his career in photography in 2013. A self-taught artist, he was drawn to concept art and dark portraits that allowed him to experiment with lighting, staging, and direction. Moving from natural settings into the studio, he honed his craft and learned how to manipulate both the physical subject and the camera’s perception of it, earning various awards in the process. “It makes me proud to be my own teacher and my biggest critic,” he told SuperRare.

Naderi’s photography collection “Lorca: a forgotten girl in art history” will appear on SuperRare later this week, showing us the many sides of a character that is shrouded in mystery. 

Lorca is a great artist who lived in my mind in a very old historical period, and now she has come to my mind and has shown me this story. I know that she was very powerful and very skilled in the art of painting, but has never achieved what [she] deserves. She was not interested in becoming famous during the period she lived in, but now she wants everyone to know who she was.

Peyman Naderi

Lorca exists in the late Elizabethen/early Baroque period, as her hair and dress indicate. She is covered head to toe in opulence and luxury, but her poses subvert any kind of comfort that they may provide. In one frame she stares intently at the camera; in another she covers her eyes with her hand; in another, she looks away in an almost apathetic disgust as a fish drowns head-first in a glass of red wine. Like so many women of the period, she appears restricted, especially by her dress, and yet her command of the room and everything in it is what draws the viewer in. The fact that this character was lost in history is not a passive resignation, but an active choice.

For many reasons, I consider [the Baroque and Rococo periods] to be the best periods in history,” says Naderi. “Everything was very orderly, luxurious and magnificent, and I draw your attention to the precise sewing of the amazing clothes and hair of that time. Everything seems to be like a painting.

Peyman Naderi

And it is accurate to say that the combination of costuming, high-contrast lighting, and the use of quintessential poses of the time do in fact evoke the popular chiaroscuro technique made famous by painters such as Rembrandt and Caravaggio. The bold contrast between the model’s fair skin and her dark dress and background inject the piece with an intense sense of volume that amplifies the themes present in the work.

And lastly, there is the question of texture. Naderi discovered his passion for photography in an abandoned, burnt cotton candy factory in the outskirts of Tehran, where he grew up. The Lorca photos, as well as many other photos from his other projects, have a sense of darkness, depth, and danger. The models seem to belong in the frame for the very reasons that make them stand apart from it.

“Dark portrait is a style that I am looking for and it is my wish to be able to promote this style and to be able to persuade people in this style. I spent many days in that factory, and the texture and walls there were very interesting to me.” Which is why looking at these portraits can feel very much like walking into a secret room, hidden from view. The charm of Naderi’s work lies in its darkness. With Lorca, one can see that there is pain, but also strength, that her entire world rests in the tension between control and rebellion.

I will never forget my past and those hardships have always been instructive for me, and now I try to create better works every day. I am always grateful to my kind make-up artist, dear Nasim. Nasim Beikzadeh has helped me a lot in completing the ideas and one day I hope to show her how much I appreciate her.

Peyman Naderi

One of the photos in this collection, “Lorca in the Painting Art,” was the best fashion photo of the year in the Art Limited in France. This collection has won 2nd place in Fine Art Photography Awards in the portrait category, 2nd place in WPE awards international photography, 2nd place in 35Awards in the fashion category, and 3rd place in One Eyeland in fine art portrait. Naderi is one of 25 finalists of the fashion photography in Prix Picto De LA Mode competition judged by Master Paolo Roversi.

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Vinny is a writer from New York City whose work has been published in Wired, The Independent, High Times, and the Best American Poetry Blog. She is SuperRare's Arts Editor.

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