28 Sep 2009

165 Reasons to Travel This Month

Living in London has its price and we do it because we love the culture here, even if we don't love the pace. Often there is the feeling that if something hasn't come to show in London it's not worth seeing; we are the centre of the universe. So it's not a familiar feeling when you want to see something so badly that you feel the need to travel.

Here's a collection of photographs showing in Paris, that beyond language tell an intimate story of the minds and hearts of the Iranian people over generations. Between the last three generations Iran has changed so much that it is as if we come from different countries altogether. My mother for example, never had to cover her hair growing up, and now for the next generation there is no choice.

Coinciding with the second edition of the Photoquai biennial, Quai Branly museum documents Iranian photography in an exhibition of the genre through the last 165 years. The exhibition takes viewers on a journey from the turn of the 19th Century, with the portraits of the Qajar era (1800s) and photo studio boom in Iran at the time of Reza Shah Pahlavi (1970s), up to the most recent contemporary works by major Iranian photographers.

"Photography in Iran, which begins during the reign of the Shah (king) in the Qajar era with portraits of the traditional aristocracy, blooms now with the work of photojournalists and documentary makers wishing to show the world the upheavals and dramas which affect their people.

The images are typically often symbolic, always poetic at some levels as is fitting a country for whom poetry is a rich, spoken legacy. The images reflect the very identity of Iranian people, their history and their way of apprehending the world.

Today, young artists revisit the codes of this medium, developing an artistic slant to photography or continuing the documentary work of their elders."