Cyrus Mahboubian

Cyrus Mahboubian

Silent Pool (Ophelia)
One-off C type print, mounted on aluminium
40 by 30 inches

One-off C type print, from Polaroid, mounted on aluminium
76 by 63.3 cm

Under Water
One-off C type print, from Polaroid, mounted on aluminium
76 by 63.3 cm

One Day You’ll Wake Up (No.1)
Gelatin silver print with found photographs
50 by 40 cm

What drives me to create is a constant awareness of how quickly time passes. Experiences are the most precious thing for me - travelling places, meeting people and having human connections with them - and my photography aims to record significant memories that I want to safeguard. In order to achieve this I have always preferred film, especially Polaroid, to digital photography because of the tangible nature of the print. Polaroid is often my medium of choice because I see it as the immediate manifestation of a precious memory. The instant Polaroid print, once shot, is a physical object that becomes part of the experience. Like a companion, it is there with me while I am experiencing the very moment that I want to capture. When I look at the photograph in future and think back to the experience, I know that the print was there and shared the moment with me.

I feel that photography has lost much of its magic in this digital age and I see Polaroid as the antidote; its small scale, square format and unpredictable results (in terms of both colour and image quality) are in sharp contrast to the digital photographs we are used to seeing today. I am disappointed by how few digital photographers actually print their photographs and therefore how rarely the photographs are experienced as objects. For me there is more to photography than just visual stimulation and when one views images on a screen, one doesn’t touch and smell the prints. Polaroids, on the other hand, are mysterious and rich of feeling. They aren’t just digital files on a computer drive somewhere, which can tell you the precise time and date that they were made and with what model camera. They are completely unique originals that inspire curiosity and nostalgia in a viewer.

In 2010, following Polaroid Corporation’s decision in 2008 to discontinue their instant film and concentrate on digital products, I began to produce and exhibit large-format versions of my most prized Polaroids. The iconic Polaroid had fallen victim to the digital revolution and become extinct, so I embraced new production techniques in order to celebrate the medium and make it relevant again. While the originals are very intimate, enlarged the images have a new impact and feel more suitable for wider viewing. Crucially, in order to preserve the spirit of Polaroid, each enlargement is a unique piece, making them, in my view, increasingly special in an age marked by the ease, speed and availability of photographic images.

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I have a BA (Hons.) in History of Art.

I was part of the University of Bristol’s Photographic Society from 2006-8. I am otherwise self-taught.

I have exhibited in group shows in both the UK and the UAE and had my first one-man show in London in spring 2011.

In May 2012 I took part in my first international exhibition; my work was featured in a show at the prestigious Dubai Ladies Club in Dubai, UAE. I received press coverage (at and my work has been published in the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National.

I have been included in group shows alongside artists whose work has featured in international auctions with Sotheby’s and Christie’s (such as Yazan Khalili, Noor Al Suwaidi and Asad Faulwell).

I have exhibited my work at Sotheby’s in London.