Baz Luhrmann Oscars

Exposure: Sinna Nasseri

Whether he’s photographing a political rally, a plastic surgeon at work or a celebrity, Sinna Nasseri’s images are close up and intimate. Gem Fletcher profiles his work

Iranian-American photographer Sinna Nasseri describes his ability to catapult viewers into every scene he captures as a “gonzo journalism curiosity”, where he brings the audience along with him, always thinking about what they want to see. “I never want a pristine façade,” he says. “Curiosity is the basis of my work, and I want to show people what’s really going on.”

Currently based in New York, Nasseri wasn’t always making images. Up until 2018, he was working as a successful yet unfulfilled lawyer on Lexington Avenue for Latham & Watkins, one of New York’s most prominent firms. “My parents came [to the United States] from Iran and had the normal immigrant striver mentality,” Nasseri tells me while on the road in California.

“I’m a first-generation American, and the pressure to be successful and be the best at whatever you do was drilled into me growing up. As a young person, I was trying to understand my role in America. I became a lawyer without much passion for what I was doing and eventually started looking for something that would shake me out of being in a job I had no interest in.”

Top and above: Baz Luhrmann, Nicole Kidman and Michelle Williams on the red carpet at the 95th Academy Awards in Los Angeles on March 12, 2023