Iran Week: Farzane Ghadyanloo
Some months back, Iranian curator and photographer, Kiana Farhoudi and I corresponded about photography in Iran. I invited her to share some of the new voices in Iranian photography and this week we feature a number of those photographers. – Aline Smithson
Farzane Ghadyanloo could be considered as one of the stars of the Iranian photography community of these years, she’s has a B.A in Cinema and Theatre which has helped her to see the world around her as movie she is a part of. Her first project was “Thursdays”, a series of brilliant photos taken of her immediate family, bringing works of Nan Goldin and Sally Mann to mind.
However at that point Farzane Ghadyanloo just wanted to capture her quite big family and their family moments, but her photos turned out to be something more than candid family photos.
She has been one of the youngest and somehow one of the very few photographers in Iran who have turned their camera to their own life and family, depicting their life as it really is, “Thursdays” project is an ongoing project for her.
In her other projects she explores other areas which are out of her usual comfort zone. She photographs the homeless people who take the night bus, and then she takes to the streets of Tehran and starts taking pictures of strangers.
She says “The idea of freezing the very true moments of random daily life has always been on my mind in all of my projects. The passion to see the world through the lens, as if you are not a member of this community but just recorder of it, as if you’re in play in which you are not playing a part and you’re just watching it.”
Farzane Ghadyanloo is a street and fine art photographer based in Iran. She was born in Karaj on September 1989 and graduated from Tehran university of Arts, faculty of Cinema and Theatre with a Bachelor of Arts in Directing in 2013.
After receiving her education Farzane came up with an idea to make a documentary movie of her family gathering sessions, she then ended up forming a long term photo series called “Thursdays”. Following her passions in documenting everyday life, she spread the same idea in capturing the very real moments of people passing by streets, she developed a series called “Tehran Street Carpet” she also developed another project “Tehran night life” that mostly features homeless people sleeping in buses. later then she discovered her interest in fine art and photomontages and shot for “The Drowned” series that are mostly staged and environmental portraits and sometimes self-portraits or remote natural sites.
This series is the result of time to time roaming in far and near places of Tehran. Trying not to be seen as a visible photographer. This series includes more than 4000 shots so far.
Each photo seems like a haiku of a random street.
The idea of freezing the very true moments of random daily lives is always on my mind in all of these projects. The passion to see the world through the lens, as if you are not a member of this community but just recorder of it, as if you’re in play in which you are not playing a part and you’re just watching it.
I’ve often looked for satisfying ideas to spend my free time after and before work hours. Carrying a camera almost everywhere lets me be there by all means. This may sound unusual but I do feel lost without it. Besides, this city is indeed a relying source of storytelling. You actually don’t need to be any wiser than shooting the reality and narating the truth without any manipulations. The bodies, looks, colors and forms are always there and you just need to keep calm and shoot it! – Farzane Ghadyanloo
To begin with, I have to clarify my most prominent aspiration which is to portray an intimate yet realistic image of an Iranian middle-class family and meanwhile attempt to avoid clichés and mawkishness. To attain this target, I chose to capture every possible constituent of different members of my family’s activities on every weekend to delineate a hypothetical unification of patterns and routines.
My Siblings are all married or have moved out to live independently; therefore it’s the greatest pleasure for my parents to see them all together once a week, even though most of them are now parents themselves and might get rather preoccupied with their own lives. My mother, the pillar of the community, believes that even the absence of one piece results in dysfunctionality of the whole system. Thus, she counts us each week prancing through the entrance door. The weekend ceremony has its own rituals which remains rather vague though. Had it been obligatory to name the lifestyle pictured in my work, there wouldn’t be any phrase more pertinent that the Latin “Carpe Diem”.
This project hitherto includes more than 4000 shots, not to mention that my crucial approach is neither be perceived nor distinguished as a visible photographer. Every reunion brings with itself an amalgam of paradoxical yet marvelous sentiments, as I am born into them and they are born into me. – Farzane Ghadyanloo
Tehran Night Life
While attending Fajr film festival some years ago, I had to take a bus to go back home late night. I was super shocked with the world inside it. To spend the whole night inside a bus is indeed such an exotic way of life in which you pay to get in, get to sleep through the whole path, and then you get off waiting for the same bus to the same spot. Such a mundane repeated bizarre lifestyle.
So another long term project involving these nights started.
First nights I was afraid to take out my camera, gradually I had this mission to spend the whole winter nights on bus and to watch them closely and sometimes I could silently take some pictures.
I started seeing some characters every night, the odd one out, the beautiful young lady in fine dress that looked only through the glasses mysteriously. The naughty teenager with an insulting language that I had to avoid any eye contacts, the the smelly old woman that looked like an Iranian actress, the addicted old man who was always complaining about the cold weather and the man with his loud nightmares.
To my surprise when the sun rises the soldiers and ordinary men in their suits were appearing and that unique family was disappearing as if they leave the bus to the earth humans to get it back at nights. – Farzane Ghadyanloo
Being a teacher
I started working as a photography teacher two years ago. This was my first experience seeing dozens of curious faces every morning, I just thought to myself it’s better to make the class room like a daily subject. I told the students to shoot me and vice versa. The result was satisfying as we were learning to be comfortable by each other’s presence. This intimacy could let us make deep friendship and also document those little precious moments as a personal history.
I remember all the details of my different teachers back in school, Art teacher, sensitive to materials that made us copy the book patterns to learn how to write in a fine form. Sports teacher that was only in good manners with the fit ones and the group plays were only popular among the ones with their big popular gangs.
The History teacher that reads the book word by word and was only concentrating on the important questions for the final exam.
The Arabic language teacher who spent hours to teach us how to accurately say a letter in Quran while we were distracted by her new gold jewelry she was wearing every session.
The English language teacher who had long conversations with special students while others were confused by their British accent and didn’t understand a word.
Now I was sitting there as a teacher and was looking at these young girls all in blue uniforms.
Maybe this process of taking my pictures without any filters led us to a deeper level of teaching and learning that we are all the same. – Farzane Ghadyanloo
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