Reflections from Iran

Written by Garima Pant | Updated: Mar 9 2009, 05:03am hrs
She refers to herself as a person who is always in a hurry. And her chosen profession too reflects this trait of her personality. Photography is the fastest art. You push a button and you get a result, says Shadi Ghadirian, a photographer who lives and works in Iran. Currently working at the Museum of Photography in Tehran, she came to the limelight in the late 90S with her Qajar series, in which she examined the paradoxical position of women in Iran, which was widely appreciated. I did that series as a student in 1999. It was about the present and the past and also modernism and traditions which we have in our life, recalled the artist in an e-mail interaction from Iran.

Her work is intimately linked to her identity as a Muslim woman living in Iran and also deals with issues relevant to women living in other parts of the world. She questions the role of women in society and explores ideas of censorship, religion, modernity, and the status of women. She admits that being a woman in Iran is hard, and working as a woman photographer is even harder. But this has not stopped her from pursuing photography. I like all the things that are hard to do! First I love photography, which is not hard itself. But if you wanted to work on womens issue, you have some difficulties, considering Iran and its situation, she adds.

Ghadirian calls her second series of work, Unfocused, done in the year 2000, as the turning point of her career. After being stuck like a stalemate, I could feel that I was a real photographer, she says. Though she faced initial hiccups in selling her photographs, it was exhibiting her pictures in public galleries was the biggest hurdle she faced, which is a thing of the past now. She calls her series, Like Everyday as one of the closest to her heart, juxtaposing the realities of women against the domestic appliances of the stereotypical world of the professional housewife. And for this revolutionary change maker, its her life and all the simple things that inspire her to continue her journey.