One saturday night, an old man entered the hotel where i was working. He was weary and seemed to be homeless. He asked me to order him an ambulance so i did. While waiting for the help we spoke a bit and then, just before the ambulance had arrived, he asked me to check his name and his work ; claiming that he was an important photographer. After he was carried away, i typed the name “HATAMI SHAHROKH” in the search engine to discover with great amazement and emotion that i had just met a great photographer whose body of work includes : the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79, the Israel/Egypt peace talks in 1977-1978, the return (plane) trip of the Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran in February 1979, portraits of the Beatles in Liverpool, Sharon Tate, Coco Chanel, Ingrid Bergman and Steve McQueen among other celebrities ...Hatami was also present on the sets of Woody Allen’s “What’s New Pussycat ?”, Jean Luc Godard’s “Le Mepris”, Francois Truffaut’s “Fahrenheit 451”, “Casino Royale”, “Doctor Zhivago”, Polansky’s “Rosemary’s Baby” and Charlie Chaplin’s latest film “A Countess from Hong Kong” starring Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando.
After checking all this, i decided to look after this man hoping that i will meet him again to do some pictures and consequently an intimate portrait of him. My first attempts to contact him failed ; i only knew his name, his website and his email address, as for that ; he seemed completly disconnected. I searched for him in the first hospital where the ambulance took him on that night but they coudn’t help me neither. I began to loose hope until one night (during the next week) he came to my hotel one more time seeking for the same help. I cheered and asked him the permission to do a work on him to which he agreed. And before the medical staff took him again i gave him my contact details and i noted his address. Few days later and without getting any news from him i went to his place. I discovered that he did not actually live there but it was his ex-girlfriend’s flat since he was indeed homeless and spent his life (according to her) “travelling and living in hotel rooms” ...She then told me the name of the hospital where he is so the next day i went there to finally meet the man.
Over four days, i spent some time with Mr Hatami in his room at the Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris. He had a very difficult and revolting character and he seemed to be ending his life in a very sad and desolate way, but against all this, i was facing a brilliant photographer whose legacy will hopefully continue to survive, and it was the most beautiful gift for me to make these pictures of him before he leaves this world.