Sara Goli’s minimalist black and white photographs offer us a new, intriguing view on the city scapes around us and draw our eyes’ attention to details and contrasts that would otherwise remain unseen
an article written by Nora Benz
ARTICULATE #31 | April 2022
For Iranian born conceptual and minimalist art photographer Sara Goli (*1989) photography is a form of expressing her feelings and artistic vision through the lens of a camera. Through her work, she wants to show another aspect of her personality, a part of her mind that is not seen or even expressed in society.
Sara Goli’s interest in photography started when there were not many photos in her family album of what she describes as good moments. When she entered university, her father gave her a phone with a good camera which she used to take pictures for fun, without knowing the rules of photography. Eight years after having started to take pictures, Goli bought her first digital camera and increasingly educated herself on photography in order to develop her photographic skills further.
Goli’s black and white photographs are informed by the genre of street and street subjects as well as the interest in contrasts, light and shadow, lines as well as buildings. In her work she pays special attention to simplicity and colors, objects, street lines, signs, and architecture. The use of ground guidelines as well as the simplicity of the background are Goli’s main focus.
Goli draws inspiration from photographers like Jason Peterson as she is fascinated by how the contrasts in his photos easily direct the eye to the subject and by how his works offer new and different perspectives and visions. In addition, Goli’s work is heavily influenced by the style of minimalism and its definition which led her to find her point of view in photography. Simply seeing and clearing the scene of clutter and extra components as expression of minimalism is one of the innate characteristics of the photographic work of Sara Goli. Tying in with the minimalist approach, Goli believes that creativity and innovation as well as the original story and idea are not destroyed by removing items when creating a good composition.
Being a self-taught photographer with an affinity for technology, Goli describes the creation of images as the product of her mind. Most of the time, she develops her ideas when walking through a city or visiting a specific location. However, she also sometimes outlines main ideas on paper which are implemented later.
Goli first takes the photo in color and then executes the black and white color spectrum in the editing process. It is because her mind pays more attention to contrast, light as well as a range of colors why Sara Goli chose to create black and white photographs. When looking at a color photo, the mind is less focused on aesthetics and details. In contrast, monochrome photos, especially those in black and white, allow lights as well as contrasts to be the first stimuli that attracts the viewer’s attention, she believes.
The titles that accompany Goli’s photographic works - Hunting the Moment, Waiting for Hope, Passying by Death - are thoughtful additions to the visual depictions of the sceneries. They amplify the strong emotions conveyed through her photographs.
Goli chooses the titles from the connection of the components in the photos. Usually, the titles of her photos are selected after the photo is taken and according to what happened in her mind during the photo shoot. However, sometimes the titles are also created on paper with imaginary components before the actual photo shoot.
One of Goli’s main aspirations is to offer the viewer of her photographs an insight into the depth of her atmosphere and thoughts. She sees photography as an honest connection between the eyes and the mind which leads to the conveyance of the concept without censorship. For Goli, reaching a common ground with the viewer without talking and just looking at her photos is thus essential.
The atmospheric, thoughtful and emotional approach of Sara Goli is also reflected in her believe that the shutter button has a great personality. No one can be photographed with a camera without transferring meaning, she believes. For Goli, taking pictures means showing one’s visual view through the lens. The camera shows a part of one’s artistic personality and the photos taken with it show a part of one’s artistic look, while at the same time, pressing the shutter button shows professionalism, she says.
Sara Goli’s minimalist black and white art photographs are intriguing depictions of our surroundings with a strong focus on contrasts and light situations that often remain unseen in our colorful, hectic world.
This article about Sara Goli takes part of the 31st magazine, ARTICULATE #31. Read, download or order your print version of the full publication below.