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DRKRM presents Dreaming California Photographs by Pej Behdarvand

  |   2011

Dreaming California is about the longing for elsewhere. Pej Behdarvand seeks to elicit the feelings of both beauty and uncertainty that arise when one yearns for another time, place, or circumstance. The Golden State has evocated yearnings for riches, fame, leisure and warm weather from the time of the Gold Rush to the creation of films from the movie studios to songs of surf and sun. This landscape series employs an old Hollywood technique known as Day for Night to create an illusion as well as to capture a different perspective on the “sunny California” landscape. Dreaming California is not a commentary on the state itself or a pessimistic stance against hopes or dreams. It is more of an exploration of the abstract notions of yearning and desire and the moments before actualization or disillusion.

Born in Tehran, Pej Behdarvand moved to Hollywood, California at the very impressionable age of 4 years with his freethinking parents and a stylish older sister. Hippies, Motown, Afros, greasy burger stands, and fast cars provided him with his first introduction to an alien culture. His globe, LIFE and L’Officiel magazines, and love of music nurtured his imagination and cravings for new experiences during his teenage years.

With the desire for exploration, he entered college to study international relations, but was quickly sidetracked by a class in filmmaking. Pej started to show his movies domestically at festivals while still studying film at San Francisco Art Institute where he received his B.F.A. After earning his degree he found himself assisting a photographer and was charmed by the simplicity and immediate intimacy that the craft of photography offered. His first portfolio pieces landed him into the American Photography Annual as well as initiating his career in commercial photography. His clients include Businessweek, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, Men’s Fitness, New York Magazine, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Spin and Warner Bros. Records.

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