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San Antonio-Based Photographer Captures Human Expression Through Many Lenses

A view of the eroded Badlands| Photo Credit Ramin Samandari
Ramin Samandari

To make it in America is hard, but as an artist? It's even harder.

At the age of 17, Ramin Samandari came from Tehran, Iran, in the middle of the Iranian Revolution and sought refuge in Odessa, Texas. He came to study medicine and was enrolled in school on the path to become a doctor. However, his fate changed when he decided he wanted to pursue the life of an artist.

Ramin Samandari

Samandari became an art teacher at the Southwest School of Art after moving to San Antonio. His collections are shown frequently at the Blue Star Art Complex and San Antonio Museum of Art.

He has emphasized the importance of self expression while contributing to art with over 30 years of experience under his belt. In particular, he has an natural, ornate curiosity for humans expression. In his Magic Realism Studio at Lone Star, he has captured portraits of people all over San Antonio and is involved in events — including Fotoseptiembre, Faces of Art and Immigration Series.

"But as far as the real thing that you learn, being an artist is understanding more about the human condition, which has been my my quest all of my life, understanding human mind and human emotion," he said.

In April, Samandari took a trip to New Mexico and took photos of his exploration in a 45,000-acre wilderness and eroded badlands. The vast landscape to him "seemed completely otherworldly."

He came home with many powerful and majestic photos — and also chest pains. Two weeks later, he had a heart attack.

Ramin Samandari

During his recovery, Samandari believes he is still here on earth for a reason. He has a perspective not a lot of other people are able to garner.

"To me, the photographs that I make, I'm not giving you reality. I'm giving you my interpretation of that reality. So none of most of my photographs are not straightforward replica of what I see," he said.

Ramin Samadari shares his art on Second Saturdays of every month. He is also available to do portraits.

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Jia Chen is a freelance journalist and photographer for Texas Public Radio. She began with TPR working as the Bexar County selected Summer Arts Intern in 2021. Her coverage includes arts & culture, technology, politics, and more. She holds a BA in Communication from University of Texas at San Antonio and has lived in San Antonio for over 20 years.