MM32 - Aydin Matlabi: Warphotographer, Storyteller & Humanitarian

I have the freedom to give visibility to those who are under-represented or marginalized, from children's rights to women's abuse, queer sub-culture, and identity to the aftermath of conflicts in war zones and hoping to change lives along the way. My mission is to use my craft via portrait and landscape photography to explore how departure, absence and loss impact one’s understanding of home and identity; how struggle affects people’s sense of self and place. Hi, my name is Aydin Matlabi!

Arriving to Montreal from Iran with Italian passports at only 5 years old, Aydin moved from refugee camp to refugee camp. Violence, street gangs and injustice was part of his DNA. That is until he met a John Abbott professor who gave him a camera to shoot life from his vantage point. This professor saw more than just violence… and a year later hired him to photograph the gay pride parade. 16+ years later and Aydin is still documenting the Montreal gay pride events.

Aydin’s mission gave birth to Foundation F64, he noticed that the stories being told from the main media were never utilized by the individuals being covered. The subject was used to tell and sell stories, with no gain for the actual victims, or institutions who were making a difference. The stories and visuals were edited, narrated and created for a western audience. Any or all financial gain never reached the people or individuals in need. What Aydin started doing was creating visuals in relation to the victims, who willingly participated as partners. Thereafter, the visuals were utilized for the specific NGO or organization to raise more money, via marketing, media sales and visibility. Therefore, creating visuals for organizations and institutions who have mandates to empower, protect and educate woman and children. Coming up with the name of the foundation, Foundation F64, was inspired by the photography group that documented the economic state of the United States during the 1930s.

Duration:  66 minutes

- Storytelling through warphotography
- Starting Foundation F64
- If a picture ain’t good enough… you ain’t close enough
- Can someone b**** slap the academic world
- Getting creative when it comes to making a difference in the world
- Fleeing your home country 20+ years later you get sentenced for being a spy
- How does one mentally prepare for a 2 month trip to Congo to then fly back home and document one of the most happiest festivals in Toronto.
- Art has an extreme amount of power, which is one of the reasons why I won’t work on a project unless it can positively impact the region and people in which I’m documenting.

Montreal Marketeers Episode 32 is now live and available for download. You can also subscribe and view our podcast on iTunesGoogle PlaySoundCloud or through your RSS feed.