PDN Photo of the Day

Public and Private Tensions in Contemporary Iran

The images in “Iran Contemporary,” on view at Fotohof in Salzburg, Austria until March 4, explore public and private life in that country, through the work of seven photographers whose approaches range from the overtly political to the purely personal. Among them are Newsha Tavakolian, whose series “Look” stages dark portraits of her neighbors in the Tehran apartment building where she lived for a decade. As she writes in a statement about the project, “I wanted to bring to life the story of a nation of middle class youth who are everyday battling with themselves, their isolated conformed society, their lack of hope for the future and each of their individual stories.” Bahram Shabani’s portraits are more public, made on in street in Tehran by framing the faces of strangers in artificial light, capturing what he calls “critical moments of a very delicate theatre.” Laurence Rasti’s series “There Are No Homosexuals in Iran” references a remark made by former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who told an American audience, “In Iran, we do not have homosexuals like in your country.” Rasti’s images depict Iranian couples who prove Ahmadinejad wrong, shown with their identities obscured by flowers or balloons or by their own embrace. Farzane Ghadyanloo’s images also focus on intimacy. Her series “Thursday,” which shows the weekly return her siblings make to her parents’ house, is full of small gestures of affection between generations. Together, these photographers invent new ways to negotiate the fine line between the personal and political during difficult times.

Related Stories:
Female Perspectives of the Middle East
Elizabeth Taylor in Iran
Notable Photo Books of 2015: Part 2 – Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album by Newsha Tavakolian (For PDN Subscribers; login required)


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