Iran’s photo censors-Express

March 11, 2009

The East Course
An Iranian photographer exhibits her work to represent censorship back home
Vandana Kalra
Express India: March 2, 2009

When Iran underwent political and social changes after the revolution of 1979, Shadi Ghadirian was a five-year-old who could barely fathom the meaning of a Hejab that soon became compulsory. Years later, there are still strict censorship rules that need to be adhered to by women in the country. Only now, Ghadirian, one of Iran’s most celebrated photographers, is using her camera to comment on the regulations. “This is my attempt to represent censorship,” writes Ghadirian about her series titled West by East. In it, she depicts the practice of censoring foreign magazines before they were delivered in Iran. Like often seen in these magazines, the photographs of women dressed in western wear have Ghadirian scribble in black to cover features that the Hejab law considers ‘immoral’ to show.

On display at Vadehra Art Gallery, these comprise a handful from the collection of over 40 photographs that are part of the exhibition that features select images from different series, dealing with varied issues by Ghadirian. While in the series titled My Press Photo she combines photographs depicting turmoil with portraits of Iranian military men, in Be Colorful she portrays the limitation and freedom that women working in Iran experience. In Like Everyday, home appliances like the kettle and grater, cover the eyes of women dressed in the burqa, and in the series titled Qajar she has studio portraits of women reflective of the nineteenth century Qajar style. Priced at Rs 1.4 lakh onwards, the photographs, Roshini Vadehra points out have evoked interest among several collectors. “The response has been fantastic,” states Vadehra, who has organised the exhibition with Tasveer.

The exhibition at Vadehra Art Gallery, Defence Colony, is on till March 13

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