Série Qajar | 1998 | Tirages numériques : 40 × 30 cm et 90 × 60 cm {JPEG}

How do we see ourselves today? How do we see women? The woman of today, yesterday and tomorrow? Where are these temporal boundaries drawn? And, where do we stand vis-à-vis these boundaries? These are faces of women in the past, the women of the Qajar era (1785-1925), of the Constitutional era (1905-1907), at which point, a new way of living was inaugurated. But where are the boundaries drawn? Is art supposed to lay them bare and go beyond them? The temporal geography of my imagination is all muddled. To me, a woman, an Iranian woman, a woman like me, is a combination of all these unknown boundaries that separates tradition from modernity. These are boundaries that move geographies through time and cover me in the attire of yesterday and reveal a Qajar woman next to elements of today. In my view, reality is not what takes place in the world outside. Reality can be an image that I have constructed of “me” or of “women.”

Like Everyday2000

Série Like Everyday | 2000 | Tirages numériques : 50 × 50 cm {JPEG}

Like Everyday replaces the faces of women with everyday domestic appliances that dominate the lives of professional housewives. Woman is forced to cater to the wishes and desire of “others” to such an extent that sometimes she doesn’t even have a face of her own to uphold. It is enough, though, to raise the curtain and see her behind the window dressing. Who is she? She is me. She is a woman.

Be Colourful2002

Série Be Colourful | 2002 | Tirages numériques : 90 × 60 cm {JPEG}

It is hard enough to be a woman; in Iran, it is even harder to be a photographer working on women’s issues. To bring your ideas to life you have to be under another cover. The reality of being a woman and the dream of working towards the betterment of our circumstances bump into one another at every turn. There are always restrictions and boundaries. Not every social more mirrors public opinion. A woman in red may be socially unacceptable but there are plenty who question such unwritten rules and they bring colour into our lives through their contrarian actions.

West by East2004

Série West by East | 2004 | Tirages numériques : 100 × 70 cm {JPEG}

When I was five my country went through a major political and social upheaval. Soon the hejab was codified in our Constitution. For many years now, whether in public or in the mass media, Iranian women have had to cover themselves according to a different legal code than men. Images of women in foreign magazines that were distributed inside Iran were also treated in the same way; this time covered with ink coming from those authorities in charge of making sure the public is protected from harms issued from the body of women. When I majored in photography in the university I paid attention to this censorship from a technical, aesthetic point of view. Today the Internet has made the issue moot. In West by East I wanted to present a look at censorship through an aesthetic evaluation.

Ctrl + Alt + Del2006

Série Ctrl + Alt + Del | 2006 | Tirages numériques : 40 × 60 cm {JPEG}

They have transformed us. They have veiled us. Sometimes we hide behind them. Sometimes we get lost before them. Sometimes we scavenge them in search of a lost love. Through them, we sometimes escape the “real world”. With one click, we sometimes get deleted. They have transformed us. They are unique to our era; to today’s woman in a fast-changing world. They transform us. They organise us. They read and write us. “They” are tiny icons on our computer. They define us the way you now see, me, a woman today.

White Square2008

Série White Square | 2008 | Tirages numériques : 75 × 75 cm {JPEG}

I was searching for a subject for my next series of photographs.
This had preoccupied me for quite some time. This is how I work: I think long and hard about the subject and the way in which I see the images before I start. For a little while I had been hearing music through the walls of my apartment. I hummed mechanically : “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people living for today…” It was John Lennon singing these sublime words. […]

Nil, Nil2008

Série Nil Nil | 2008 | Tirages numériques : 75 × 75 cm ou 75 × 110 cm ou 110 × 75 cm {JPEG}

[…] I had the feeling that I was getting close to the subject I wanted to represent in my photographs. I still hadn’t entirely grasped it. My neighbour increased the volume as if in response to my hesitation: “Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace…” My heart started to beat ever faster. I had to find the images for these words. This came from inside me. I couldn’t wait any longer; I had to gather the equipment to take these photos immediately. But I couldn’t get away from the voice: “Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger. A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people sharing all the world…”
That was what I had been saying to myself for many a year. I picked up my things and headed to the door to go to my studio. As I waited for the lift, I sang: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us and the world will be as one.”

Miss Butterfly2011

Série Miss Butterfly | 2011 | Tirages numériques : 70 × 100 cm ou 100 × 70 cm {JPEG}

Self-preservation is perhaps the most collective primal instinct since it is the way to assure further sustenance; the profound need to continue existence is so strong that it should be no surprise
why there is perhaps no better way to imprison a man’s soul than with either a threat to punish or a promise of security.
Miss Butterfly is the story of a rude awakening, the disconcerting realisation that a social system that is the only means of justifying security, purpose and, to a degree, identity for its individuals has collapsed, no longer upholding any validity or justice and consequently diminishing all optimism. Such severe apprehension creates degradation and fear, which would naturally lead to uncertainty and hopelessness, since it is hard to plan or even imagine a future under despotism.
Hope is perhaps one of the most collective primal psychic forces that self-preservation greatly depends on both for sustenance and further growth; so it is and may always remain a mystery whether or not anything would have ever evolved if void of all hope.
Miss Butterfly is the painful struggle to keep hope alive by any means possible, either by enduring and fighting the oppressive condition despite all the existing risks and dangers, or by letting go of one’s home and loved ones in search of a promised land that could provide or at least create a notion of making available the very basic necessities such as security and hope for the future.

Too Loud a Solitude2015

Une trop bruyante solitude {JPEG}

This video is a slice of instants, similar to photography, in which the subjects move. This is the history of humans around us without any knowledge of where they come from and where they are going. They are simply walking. As observers, we are their witnesses and in the end, naturally, we start to walk and accompany them.

  • Qajar (version audio)
    Qajar (version audio)
  • Like everyday (version audio)
    Like everyday (version audio)
  • Be Colourful (version audio)
    Be Colourful (version audio)
  • West by east (version audio)
    West by east (version audio)
  • CTRL+ALT+DEL (version audio)
    CTRL+ALT+DEL (version audio)
  • White square (version audio)
    White square (version audio)
  • Nil, Nil (version audio)
    Nil, Nil (version audio)
  • Miss butterfly (version audio)
    Miss butterfly (version audio)