Iran Week: Mehrdad Emrani
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
Since I started photography, I was amazed by staged photography, by works of Gregory Crewdson and Jeff Wall; I was fascinated by their process of photography and by the fact that each photo has its own story and stories were something I desired the most.
During the past few years, “Staged Photography” has become very popular with the new generation of Iranian photographers. Iranians are fantastic story tellers and what is a better way to tell a story than to narrate it through pictures?
Among various photographers who are focused on this method of photography, I came across Mehrdad Emrani. I had previously seen some flawless portraits and advertising photographs by him but among his works, I found something that I, myself, would like to call a treasure, a collection of photos called “narrativography” which is a series of photos based on novels.
What distinguishes this series of work by Emrani is his sole dedication to his idea. He doesn’t make an effort to add meaning to his images; his pictures are exactly what he calls them, a pictorial narration of stories.
This description might make the project seem simple, but regardless of Emrani’s brilliant photography technique, any avid reader who has read any of these books can see signs and references which show that these photographs are anything but simple. They are the result of a meticulous mind that knows the key details of each story and has woven them into his pictures.
In his statement he writes: “Aran said: ‘why don’t you shoot still life? From the books you like?’ and suddenly this was the most natural thing to do.”
And that is the most natural thing it is.
Born in 1983, Mehrdad Emrani is a 35 year old Iranian photographer and cinematographer who currently works and lives in Tehran. He inherited the passion for photography from his father and is currently depicting shallow sentences of advertisments. In between he tries to study narrative through stories he deeply loves.
Aran said: “why don’t you shoot still life? From the books you like?” and suddenly this was the most natural thing to do. When someone knows you this much’ it seems her ideas comes out of your mind. Story and its image have been very important to me for a long time; so I began. First I had to make limitations. Without limitations you lose the dimensions of the project. So finally I came up with these rules: only novels, only still life and only triptych. These are the only things the works have in common. My approaches to novels are not the same, it differs in relation to differences they have with each other and what they had left in my mind. This is not a claim to reproduce all aspects of the novels. Like other kinds of translation it’s rare if not impossible. – Mehrdad Emrani
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