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By Chris Blanchette
Self-proclaimed nerd Ali Saremi composes his photos with mechatronics (the combination of electronics and mechanical engineering)—balancing artistry and technical composition in one shot.
The third-year engineering student said his passion for photography began when he turned his lens towards the towering skyscrapers and sprawling cityscape that Toronto has to offer.
“From there my photos started getting a lot of attention and likes, lots of comments. Some of my friends asked me to photograph them and I did it,” said Saremi.
Though the skyline’s smooth glass buildings and famed CN Tower allowed him to capture stunning photos, people did not seem interested in purchasing them online.
It can be difficult for a photographer’s work to stand out, especially in the digital age, when Instagram has become oversaturated with photos of a similar style, according to Saremi. So the next logical step was to expand his repertoire by jumping into portrait photography—a style he said is far more personal.
“When I shoot with people, I treat them as though they’re my best friend,” he said. The benefit to this, Saremi explained, is that the subject is usually more inclined to act naturally, rather than tense up when posing for a stranger.
He said it’s all about making new friends and having experiences with new people.
“I’ll say, ‘Hey, walk around a little bit so I can see how you walk, see how you talk.’ And it clearly works.”
Saremi’s website contains photos of Toronto landmarks, like the Toronto islands, where he uses the cityscape as a backdrop. This is the kind of composition that originally captured his eye when he began photography: cityscapes with a human element.
His photos use bright colours and highly contrasted tones that all draw attention to the model’s best features. Saremi makes good use of a low depth of field, which blurs out the background of photos and brings his subjects to the forefront.
“When you go and shoot cityscape or landscape you’re mostly alone or you’re with one other person, but when you work with people it becomes fun,” said Saremi.
It is the joy of photographing and the fun of collaboration that makes it worth it for Saremi, though creating profit off of art is never a bad thing, either.