Gifted Giver: Fashion Photographer Carmen Daneshmandi

We’re counting down the crucial pre-Christmas shopping days with a series called Gifted Givers, in which friends old and new share their thoughts on stylishly spirited giving and receiving.

Of Spanish and Iranian descent, raised in the Northwest and rerooted in Brooklyn, Carmen Daneshmandi has a perspective that constantly colors new ideas about emerging technology, modern mashups, ancient wisdom and deep, archival beauty. Take, for instance, the Philip Crangi studio visit she shot for our Men’s Shop Daily. Simply put, we love how this lady sees the world—and the world of giving.

The Thread: What would you love to give your best friends this year?
Daneshmandi: I would love to give my mom a gift that reminds her of home: Seville, Spain. She always talks about how that will always be home for her and how much she misses it and last time we went to visit, I ended up taking a lot of intimate portraits and video snapshots of life there. I think since moving to New York family has become even more important, and I want to put together something visual and tangible for her that can bring her back to that time and place together at any given instant.

What would you love to unwrap for yourself?
A jumpsuit for New Year’s Eve! Every year I wear one, and this year I want it to feel like Studio 54. Big hair and an all-white jumpsuit. Wide-legged, sleek and simple. I haven’t found the exact one yet, but I know it’s out there somewhere waiting for me.

What kinds of things do people tend to give you? Why do you suppose that is? What does no one ever give you or what do you never indulge in for yourself?
I always, without fail, get gifted photo books of some sort. Depending on who it’s coming from, it usually ranges from something happy-go-lucky like 100 Tips to Become a Pro Sharpshooter Today to the more preferred In & Out of Fashion by Viviane Sassen. It makes sense given what I do, and I always appreciate any gift that contributes to that part of me and helps grow my photo book collection. On the other hand, I would love for someone to surprise me and introduce me to something new that isn’t necessarily photo-related. A record I’ve never listened to, a film I’ve never heard of, an artist I’ve never looked at. I would love to unwrap something and be like “Who is this?” and find out I’m actually going to fall in love with them.

What’s your go-to host or hostess gift, either for a party or for a weekend or extended stay?
Whenever I’ve been in a friend’s home—whether for a party or for a weekend stay—my eyes are immediately drawn to any vegetation they have. Hanging plants, air plants, what kind of pots they’re in. It always seems to open up a space in a nice way, and I think living in New York, a green gift would be a good one to give and receive.

Follow Carmen Daneshmandi on Tumblr

SHOP: Holiday Gifts

—Laura Cassidy