Oxford

Kazem Hakimi's fish and chip shop photos exhibited

Kazem Hakimi at his exhibition
Image caption All of Kazem Hakimi's portraits were snapped against a wall behind his chip shop

A fish and chip shop owner who took pictures of his customers as a hobby has had two exhibitions of his work open in Oxford.

Kazem Hakimi catalogued the varied characters who visited his Iffley Road premises and his work became an internet hit.

The portraits are being shown at the Old Fire Station and Modern Art Oxford.

Mr Hakimi said he was "extremely happy" and "never imagined this would happen".

He took pictures of his customers against a white wall behind his shop, while they were waiting for their food to be cooked.

"I photographed them fast," he explained. "Within one minute the job would be finished."

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Media captionThe photographer was inspired by the "interesting characters" in Oxford
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Media captionKazem Hakimi has been taking photos of his customers for the last two years

He described the project as a personal one.

"I found there were many interesting characters in the Oxford area so I wanted to make a collection for myself, that's how it started, " he said.

"It went haywire, BBC Oxford made a lovely video… it went viral, nearly two million, and people have been so nice to me and I've been humbled by their kindness.

"It's very good because it binds the community together."

Emma Ridgway, from Modern Art Oxford, called Mr Hakimi's work "striking".

She said: "To be able to take photos so quickly and to such a high level of skill, when you only have one or two shots available, takes decades of having worked with photography and really understanding it very intuitively and deeply.

"Because of how Kazem is as a person, the portraits are also infused with a passion, and really hopeful about humanity.

"He sees people without judgement, and accepts who they are, and tries to portray aspects of what he sees shining through people, and that takes not only artistic skill but also a certain attitude to the world."

Image caption Mr Hakimi's portraits have been described as "hopeful about humanity"

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