I recently shot a portrait of Iranian artist Samira Abbassy for the Financial Times in London. On almost every assignment, I shoot film, usually just for myself. I almost always like the film photographs better. So the above are two “outtakes” of film I shot and below is what ran in the newspaper.
From the story:
Expat lives: Kent to Manhattan
By Nisa Qazi
New York may be a tough city but Samira Abbassy, an Arab-Iranian artist with a British passport, plans to stay
Samira Abbassy has made two big moves in her life: the first at the age of two, when her parents emigrated from Iran to Britain; the second, three decades later, when she moved to New York City. An Arab-Iranian artist with a British passport and twin half-American children, Abbassy knows the term “expatriate” doesn’t quite capture the complexity of her situation or how she came to be living in Manhattan’s Theater District and exhibiting her work around the world.
Abbassy has lived in New York City since 1998, when she moved there with her then-husband to create the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, a non-profit organisation that provides artists with resources and space to work. “I met my husband in 1989,” she says. “I’d only just left art school, and I was literally living in my studio and bathing in a bucket. My plight informed his dream of the foundation.”
Having acquired the space needed, a 12-storey former garment factory a stone’s throw from Times Square, the two began the long process of gutting and converting it into artists’ studios. Now the studios’ artist services manager and a member of the board, Abbassy looks back at the path that brought her here. And it’s a long one.