My name is Labkhand. Which means Smile in Farsi.
As a young girl growing up in Tehran during the 1980’s, I was mesmerized by the arts and theater. I would play in front of the mirror channeling myself and role-play, and lose myself in the fun that ensued! By 14, I was getting really serious as a painter and sculptor, and of course I loved theater. Nevertheless my family urged me towards something more conventional (i.e. boring).
After high school, I picked graphic design and went to Azad University in Tehran. It turned out to be a great choice. I tried different mediums and worked entirely analog since we were still a few years from desktop publishing. My photography teacher was really supportive and recognized my work, but unfortunately the way I chose to express myself did not have a place in Iran at the time. Nevertheless, I managed to put on over 10 solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally.
In 2003, I moved from Iran to the beautiful island of Cyprus and landed my first photography job at Contact Publishing, a British company that had 2 monthly magazines. As staff photographer and style page editor, I stayed active with my art, and worked with different international organizations and artists. Photography had truly become my voice, so I took a course of studio photography in London to really expand my skills.
In 2006, I entered a few online competitions in various parts of the world. I was still living in Cyprus, but the thought of travelling really called me in a way I could not put aside. A few weeks later, I received an invitation from one of the competitions in the United States and I planned my trip as if I may never return. I won a second place prize and received a decent check for my efforts. That night, for the first time I thought wow. I really can be a great artist! Another perk from the contest and my body of work was my green card eligibility. Then I knew I had to stay here and continue the great adventure that started in front of my mirror.