Let the People Tell Their Story

Payman Hazheer

October 2, 2020

Every person has their own story within. Payman Hazheer has made it his mission to tell them with his Leica Q2.
The street is his habitat: Payman Hazheer gives his fellow human beings the opportunity to tell their own story. Whether participants of the Black Lives Matter movement, a homeless person, or a pedestrian on the streets of Stockholm – the Swedish photographer’s camera is an instrument that turns strangers into familiar people, defined by bold portraits captured for eternity during brief encounters.

LFI: What motivates and fascinates you about photography?
Payman Hazheer: I think photography is such a powerful, beautiful and important tool. Just the fact that photography enables you to revisit moments that are gone forever is such a beautiful thing, and this is simply what motivates me, to always put myself in front of people or situations, and capture moments that people can experience and connect with.

Could you describe your first steps into portrait photography?
It was not until I left my small home-town in the northern part of Sweden to study journalism in Washington DC. It was the first time I met with and talked to homeless people, and one thing I learned was that they all had a normal life, but at some point something tragic happened to them. This new knowledge made a huge impact on me and I started to take their portraits and tell people their stories.

How do you connect with your subjects?
For me it is instrumental to create a moment of trust, and to gain trust you have to be open and meet people at their energy level. Instead of just asking to take a picture, I often approach my subjects by telling them what caught my attention, whether it was their eyes or the expression on their face, and what story I would like to portray. This way I let the subject be part of creating their story.

Does your work have any political connotations?
I find satisfaction in photographs that create a connection that makes you look at different subjects through a new lens, and hopefully eliminate prejudices – whether it’s about homelessness, social injustice or religion. So I guess for some my photos are very political, and for others not at all, depending on who the viewer is and what his or her values are.

What was working with the Q2 like?
Having a small camera, with such great rendering, is perfect because I can carry it with me everywhere without having to compromise on the image quality. In addition, having only a fixed, wide-angle 28mm lens really encouraged me to be creative and to focus on my composition to develop my imagery.
Danilo Rößger
EQUIPMENT: Leica Q2, Summilux 28 f/1.7 Asph

Payman Hazheer+-

Payman Hazheer is based out of Stockholm, Sweden, and focusses on street portraiture and photojournalism. The long term project he is working on is to release a book portraying old book stores around the world. They have a beauty that is vanishing in a digital world – for him, it would be a beautiful thing to look back on. More


Let the People Tell Their Story

Payman Hazheer