Eden Prairie Photographer Vahid Samie

Eden Prairie’s Vahid Samie connects to nature through a lens.
Eden Prairie photographer Vahid Samie grew up in Iran.

Vahid Samie was a young boy living in Iran when he saw his first camera. It was, as they say, love at first sight. “As long as I remember, I was interested in photography and was fascinated by everything to do with cameras and taking pictures,” he says.

He was captivated by a camera’s ability to freeze and preserve a small moment in time. As a teenager, he delved deeper into his intrigue by purchasing a very old Russian camera that “meant the world” to him.

With his new toy in hand, Samie began snapping away: people, outdoors, everything. He learned more about the art of photography with every picture he took and even got a few tips from a friend studying photography in college.

Then, in 1992, Samie’s world drastically changed. As a follower of the Baha’i Faith, a religion historically and currently persecuted Iran, his daily life was crippled by mounting pressures: His father spent over five years in prison, and Baha’is were banned from going to college. He fled to Pakistan and then, following the steps of his uncle, settled in Eden Prairie in 1995.

Today Samie strongly feels that Eden Prairie is home, though his initial settling was far from easy. In addition to adjusting to the new culture, Samie worked towards a better future for him and his family by taking on a rigorous work schedule, as well as after-hours courses at Normandale Community College. The move, demanding schedule and financial pressures forced his passion for photography to the wayside.

Samie says that even though there were times he was prevented from practicing his hobby, taking pictures was still on his mind. “My family could not always afford to keep up with my love for photography, so I would often resort to pretending to take pictures without any film in the camera,” he says in his Flickr biography. “Even though those images and moments are forever gone, they became engraved in my mind every time the shutter clicked.”

About two years ago, Samie found himself in the position to re-submerge himself in picture taking. Now equipped with two Nikons, a D600 and a D810, he is striving to take his hobby more seriously and professionally than ever before.

In the past Samie took pictures of everything and everything. Upon re-entering the field, he experimented with portrait photography before narrowing his focus on nature and landscapes. “I fell in love with nature through photography,” he says. “It was not something that I was interested in before, but when I started photography and going out to take pictures, Mother Nature kind of pulled me in. Now, nature is something that encourages me to go and take more pictures.”
Samie’s nature photos are, in a word, exquisite. Often both grand in scale and detail, his pictures serene, colorful, and fairytell-eque in their beauty. Many of the landscapes and nature scenes are shot right here in Minnesota, though he always is sure to take his camera along on family vacations—most recently Arizona and the Grand Canyon. Samie will bring his camera along this fall when he visits the Pacific Northwest.

Currently Samie shares many of his photos on the picture-sharing websites Flickr and 500px, and at vssphoto.com. He also has been invited to hang his work at a gallery in a Bloomington office building as well as sold a few of his pieces.

The prospect of sharing his work is an exciting one for Samie. Outside the thrill of bringing beauty into people’s homes, he believes that by sharing his photos, people will be more aware of their impact on the environment’s beautiful face. “Before this I didn't really pay attention, and I didn't go out there and really see nature and see the affects that we’re doing on nature,” he says. “I think the photography that I’m doing someday can tell stories and make people think.”