Knowing me, knowing you: Saam Farahmand and Pegah Farahmand

A relationship under the microscope

SAAM FARAHMAND, 32, is an award-winning music video director who has created promos for Janet Jackson, Mark Ronson, Cheryl Cole and Klaxons. Considered one of the most exciting visual artists around, his provocative videos often cause controversy. He lives in London.


Pegah and I are only a year and a half apart so we really grew up together. We used to watch a lot of television and films that we probably weren't supposed to watch when we were really young and we had older friends who exposed us to music and film which were perhaps a bit unsuitable.

I studied fine art and began as a painter and sculptor before I started experimenting with video, which felt very natural and intuitive as I'd messed around with it when I was younger. Because we work in the same sphere we have ended up sharing a lot of friends. I can get the barest of responses from Pegah about my work but there's a lot of unspoken communication and I can tell without her saying anything whether she thinks what I'm doing is a good idea or not. Her opinion is really important to me even though we do different things – she has a bigger interest in humanitarian subjects and really looks at the outside world whereas my work is a lot more solitary and internal.

We both have to kind of edit what we show our parents because our work can be provocative. Sometimes the content that my sister works with is quite risky and similarly some of the stuff that I do can be misinterpreted as gratuitous.

When you have a sibling who is close in age to you it becomes harder to make the other one laugh so your humour and things that you use to provoke the other become increasingly exaggerated or strange. The challenge to get the jaded sibling's attention is what forces you to conjure up stranger things. I guess it tunes you in a certain way.


PEGAH FARAHMAND, 30, produces documentaries and online content for Vice, the multimedia conglomerate. She is 18 months younger than her brother Saam. They also have a 21-year-old sister.

Even as a kid my brother was the really creative one. He's always had quite a dark sensibility; we used to watch horror movies and Twin Peaks when we were little. Maybe it was inevitable that he's gone on to make work that can be surreal. There was a period in his life when he thought about doing a more academic course and going to Oxford or something. I think that's what our parents expected, being traditional Iranian parents; they wanted him to be a doctor or a lawyer.

One day, out of the blue, he a nnounced that he was going to go to Goldsmiths to do fine art instead. It took my family years to get over the shock. I wanted to get into fashion, which I studied for a year, before realising it wasn't for me and ended up doing fine art as well. Not that I was copying my brother, even though we joke about it a lot. Even as a kid he used to always say I copied him. I think I'm one of the few people who is really brutally honest with him.

Before I started working for Vice, Saam asked me to do my first producing job. It was for the band Simian Mobile Disco and it was one of the first music videos he had made. He told me to get 20 girls together who were willing to make out with each other for a really long time. I managed to do it as well! I have an eclectic mix of friends and if he needs a certain type of character he'll usually call me.

His work can be provocative but it is also beautiful which I think sometimes goes unnoticed. He's like that in the real world too; he always wants things to be cinematic.

Saam Farahmand has produced a series of video portraits as part of ABSOLUT BLANK Live. To view them visit

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

    Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

    £10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

    £17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

    Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

    £32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot