Dariush Zandi’s love of photography began as a child in his native Tehran, where he would spend summers helping at his local photography studio. Receiving his first camera at the age of eight, the camera has been his companion since then. His love of photography flourished during university years while studying art, architecture and urban design in New York City. He later honed his photography skills during film and photography study in New York and California.
Zandi, alongside a group of close friends and colleagues, developed the first art institute in Dubai in the early 1980s, Dubai Art Centre. While programming for design and architecture classes; he established the photography wing there, organizing lectures, exhibitions, and field trips.
His photos have appeared in numerous publications, books & magazines including: Those Were The Days, Dubai: The Arabian Dream, 24 Hours Dubai, Sky Hunters, Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World, and Architectural Heritage of the Gulf (of which he is co-author), and can be found in corporate collections such as Reuters, Land Rover, Emirates Airline and more. His commercial work, meanwhile, has been used in international ad campaigns by global brands, including Coca-Cola and Nestlé.
By bringing the two areas of photography and architecture/urban planning together, Zandi’s focus is how photography and architecture can work to preserve and renew urban spaces while honoring the cultural fabric of an area.
He has played an integral part in some of the UAE’s most important restoration projects, such as Sheikh Saeed House, Dubai Museum, among others. Zandi has served as Chairman of the UAE Architectural Heritage Society and is the founder of two establishments, the photography studio Total Design and a gallery, Total Arts. Both are housed within The Courtyard also initiated by him as the first dedicated art space in Dubai.