The College of Wooster Art Museum presents « Picture Yourself », a group exhibition gather six artists Daniel Arnold, Sean Fader, Luis Flores, Rollin Leonard, Andy Warhol and Farideh Sakhaeifar. Among them, Farideh, an Iranian photographer, she exhibits Workers Are Taking Photographs’s series.
Worn down and wearing work clothes tainted by paint and dust, these men do not smile. They do not offer more than what they are asked, which is to hold the cable and press the release. Informed by both nineteenthcentury Qajar prints and the work of American photographer Richard Avedon, Farideh Sakhaeifar’s series The Workers Are Taking Photographs, 2008, highlights the effects of staging, portraiture, the working class, and the (in)visible hand of the photographer.
Taken outside of Tehran, the title sounds as though it is being uttered by an informant alerting a supervisor that his workers are taking a break, deviating from what they’re supposed to be doing: working. As such, these photographs highlight conditions of labor, employment, and masculinity.
Each of these portraits contains at least two frames—the white frame behind the worker held by discreet feminine hands as the worker holds the cable release ready to press the shutter, and the frame of the surrounding workplace. But for the hands holding the white panel behind the subject, the absence of women is palpable and the implications of a woman’s role in Iran are not subtle.
As a woman from a different social class, Sakhaeifar enters these male dominated spaces and asks the men to take their own photographs. While she gives them the power to choose and take their own picture, she, as the hands that hold up the white background, constructs the self-constructions of these working-class Tehranian men.
– Leah Mirakhor
Workers Are Taking Photographs
Until April 26th, 2016
The College of Wooster Art Museum
Ebert Art Center
1220 Beall Avenue
Wooster, Ohio 44691