Interview with Street Photographer Idene Roozbayani

Idene, tell us about you?

I'm a photographer and musician based in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the North East of England.

You have a very cool and memorable name, where is it from?

My name is from Iran which is where I was born in sunny Tehran. 

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Can you remember the first time you picked up a camera? What was the one thing you could point to that made you fall in love?

The first time I picked up a camera I think was around 1998 time. I had this old Konica Minolta film camera at the time and one day, while passing a photo shop, decided to buy some film and take it out with me. Back then I used to hang around South Shields skate park a lot so tested it all out on my friends like you do. I still have a box full of pictures from that camera. I think the one thing I could point too was that time down at the skate park. At the time it was exciting to get the pictures back and getting some good shots amongst the bad ones was always a great high for me. So I guess the excitement and anticipation of getting a great shot was what made me fall in love with photography.

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What got you more specifically into street photography?

Through travelling in Italy. I had only had my SLR at the time (Sony A350) for a short  time and found myself constantly taking pictures of the people I came across. After the trip was over I managed to get a couple of decent shots and started looking more into street photography. I found this group on flickr called Hardcore Street Photography

I remember looking through those shots absolutely mesmerised, I loved every single one of them. So one trip close to when I got my first proper D-SLR and the discovery of a photo group on flickr got me into Street Photography. 

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Any examples of times you got in trouble or into tricky situations shooting?

I have never really been in trouble through shooting. There has been the one occasion where I had my camera knocked and the lens packed up and died but apart from that it's been smooth sailing. 

What do you think it's leading to? Anything particular you are aiming for or are you just going with the flow?

I'm not sure to be honest with you. I think maybe it'll lead to me being able to shoot some nice prints for sale through my soon to be redesigned website, or maybe an exhibition. Right now, it's a fun thing that I like to do for me. So definitely going with the flow, if something better comes from it then great if not, I'll still be happy with everything that's happened so far and most importantly the photos. 

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Do you use social media a lot in relation to photography? Which networks do you think are the most valuable and why?

I use the main ones, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (both @Idene) and recently I've started using MySpace again although there's hardly anyone on there right now. I think right now the most valuable network is still Facebook. I'm not a fan of the site in the slightest, but it's undeniable, Facebook is where most people spend their on-line lives right now and a very good site to engage and communicate with others. 

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Newcastle...that must make for some fun nights out shooting?

It has it's highs and lows for sure but definitely a fun place to be on a night out. 

You shoot a lot of live music too?

Yea I love it. I love watching/hearing live music so being able to take pics of bands/DJs I really like is the best of all worlds. 


Any advice for street photographers you wish you got earlier?

Yes. When shooting street, leave your lens cap off and your camera on at all times. Also make sure your camera is as inconspicuous as possible. Leave off the battery grip, the huge zoom lens. You don't need that. You need your camera to look as bland and as ordinary as possible. That way you can raise it to your face and no one will look intently at it. I remember early on being in Spain, still quite new to photography and walking around with a huge wide angle, battery grip and my lens cap on. Every time I raised my camera to take a pic it would draw attention, either from the subject or potentially unsavoury types. I also missed some, what could have been great, photographs by being stupid with my lens cap. So yea, leave that cap off. 


Thanks a lot Idene!

View more of Idene's work here

All photos © Idene Roozbayani