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Photo London 2023: Iranian photography between commitment and poetry


For this eighth edition, the organizers of Photo London have thought of several geographical focuses, in particular the one devoted to Iranian photography. Overview of the different proposals.

Roya Khadjavi Projects and Nemazee Fine Art (New York) exhibit five photographers with original practices, united by their social and environmental involvement. Tahmineh Monzavi, known for his documentary work, now associated with an artistic approach, presents a mix of several series linked to places with a strong historical or ecological resonance. On the images parade desert landscapes and local populations. Ali Tahayori’s photographs combining image and text with broken mirrors reflect the conflicts related to his identity and the feeling of having always been an outsider, whether during his youth within the oppressive and homophobic Iranian society or more later as an immigrant to Australia. Public Toilets, a series of clichés painted in gouache is a powerful evocation of repressed desires. Dariush Nehdaran and Maryam Palizgir also play with the idea of ​​reflection. The first to evoke the idea of ​​concealment and the second to “identify the interconnection of rural and urban spaces with human presence”.

O Gallery (Tehran) presents a contemporary series by photographer Mohammedreza Mirzaei exploring through realism and abstraction his sensitivity for the objects around him and the way light can sculpt reality. At his side unfolds the documentary work of Kaveh Kazemi through rare shots of the 1979 Revolution.

The Mars gallery exhibits the Forty Pages series by Nasim Nasr which explores the idea of ​​migration in our contemporary world, of movement between countries and cultures. The identity photograph of a passport is gradually covered with the stamps necessary for customs clearance. Gradually, over the course of his many travels, the artist no longer recognizes himself and loses his identity.

Finally, in the Discovery section, the LS10 gallery presents an exploration of the history of the province of Khuzestan and the impact of oil production on this region through a series of visually very poetic Babak Kazemi, playing on the omnipresence of a cloud in the center of the frame. Beside it is displayed a colorful series by Jalal Sepehr centered on a red carpet: “The oldest carpet in the world belongs to Iran. It is the Pazyryk, which uses warm colors, especially red. It is why I use predominantly red carpets because of the expressive power of color in contrast to the background of the photo”. The gallery also shows the very direct feminist work of Mahsa Alikhani as well as two images from Pargol E. Naloo’s delicate Temporary series.

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