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MIAMI (CBS4) – Art Basel Miami Beach showcases artists from all over the world. But one of the more well-known photographers is a woman who calls South Florida home. Her name is Iran Issa-Khan, a woman who has an eye for beauty but never planned to be a photographer.

“The minute I picked up a camera, I could look through that hole and see the world. The world that I wanted to see and I realized I could do anything, it was mine,” said Issa-Khan.

The Persian born Iran had talent and connections and soon was taking pictures of some of the world’s most rich and famous, such as Nancy Reagan in the White House, and designer Paloma Picasso.

“I did her, she fell in love and gave me her ad campaigns,” explained the artist. “I did Caroline Herrera as profile. No one had ever done that.”

Other famous photos appeared on cover, after cover, after cover of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, Vogue and W. They featured celebrities such as Iman, Paulina Poriskova, Duchess of Marlborough, the Ferragamo family, the Fendi family and more.

But the shutter stopped when a close friend, her make-up artist, died.

“I couldn’t shoot anymore. I couldn’t shoot beauty anymore,” explained Issa-Khan.

She took a break from fashion and from her camera. But then, ten years ago, at a friend’s urging, Iran turned the lens not on a face, but on a flower.

“All of a sudden I realized how it went back to beauty. But real beauty that never changed,” explained Issa-Khan. “I made it huge, and all of a sudden people started looking at it like a piece of art.”

She works out of her Miami design district studio with a 4×6 camera and film.

“You’re not working on a computer changing this thing. Nothing, zero. What you see is what you get.”

Creating her pieces is so elaborate; she only does it several times a year.

“Having had no children, I get so attached to them. I hate to part with them.”

Currently, 25 of her large-scale photographs of shells are on display at Miami International Airport in an exhibition titled “Gifts from the Sea.” It’s on display in the Skywalk between Terminals E and F.

She gets emotional when she sees her work on display.

“When I went and saw it I started crying,” according to Iran who says she can’t shoot photograph people anymore. “Really truly to shoot people again, I couldn’t because people have two faces. With plant and sea shell there’s one face and it’s perfect.”)

Her large pieces range between 12 and 25 thousand dollars.


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