Tag Archives: Iran

Photos From Iran: Morteza Nikoubazl

Laurie says:

I saw a group of images by Iranian photographers in an article from In Focus by Alan Taylor in the Atlantic.  I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while but other things kept coming up.

Iran has appeared in numerous headlines around the world in recent months, usually attached to stories about military exercises and other saber-rattlings, economic sanctions, a suspected nuclear program, and varied political struggles. Iran is a country of more than 75 million people with a diverse history stretching back many thousands of years. While over 90 percent of Iranians belong to the Shia branch of Islam — the official state religion — Iran is also home to nearly 300,000 Christians, and the largest community of Jews in the Middle East outside Israel. At a time when military and political images seem to dominate the news about Iran, I thought it would be interesting to take a recent look inside the country, to see its people through the lenses of agency photographers. Keep in mind that foreign media are still subject to Iranian restrictions on reporting

Much of the work is very impressive and the whole slide show is worth seeing. I was particularly struck by the work of Morteza Nikoubazl.

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This is from the Lightstalkers (see below) web site:

Morteza Nikoubazl was born in Tehran in 1974 and studied art and photography there. Nikoubazl started work as a freelance photographer for Iranian daily and weekly newspapers then moved to the United Arab Emirates newspaper Gulf News. In 1999 he began working with the Reuters team as a stringer and now works exclusively with Reuters Tehran team.

This bio is not that recent but he is still working for Reuters.  There are lots of his images on the web but not a lot about him in English.

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This photo is from a very different series titled Lightstalkers . You really want to look at the entire series. They are very reminiscent some of Josef Sudek’s work. He is one of my favorite photographers and I wrote this post about him on his birthday a while ago.

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And one more photo I liked a lot that that was simply tagged Reuters.

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Nude Photos as a Revolutionary Act (NSFW)

Laurie and Debbie say:

The Nude Revolutionary Calendar is a project undertaken in support of Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, a young Egyptian woman who posted nude portraits of herself on Twitter last November, tagged #NudePhotoRevolutionary. Here’s a nude portrait of Elmahdy.

According to writer Saskia Vogel, Elmahdy and her boyfriend were criminally charged with “violating morals, inciting indecency and insulting Islam.” It does not appear that Elmahdy is in jail at this time–if anyone has better information than we’ve found, please share it with us.

In response to the Egyptian government’s criminalizing of Elmahdy, Iranian activist and blogger Maryam Namazie created the Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar (.pdf here and purchase information here). The calendar features a diverse group of women. The calendar photographs were all taken by different photographers, mostly men. We have to wonder how different it would look with more women photographers.

Namazie also created this very brief video featuring Iranian women, naked from the waist up, talking about why they support the project:

Namazie says: “Showing her body, particularly at a time when Islamists in Egypt are securing power, is the ultimate act of rebellion. Don’t forget Islamists despise nothing more than a woman’s body. To them, women are the source of corruption and chaos and must be covered up at all times and not seen and not heard.”

and also

“What with Islamism and the religious right being obsessed with women’s bodies and demanding that we be veiled, bound, and gagged, nudity breaks taboos and is an important form of resistance.”

Let us first appreciate the courage of Elmahdy and other women living under extreme religious law and culture, whether it is Islamic or not.

Particularly when the war against women is spreading across the United States and Europe, it’s very important to remember that, while many Islamic women are currently at more risk than women in most other cultures, this phenomenon is not confined to Islam. Fear of women’s bodies, and the resultant attempt to make us disappear, is rampant in all patriarchal cultures. Fear of men’s bodies is certainly a factor in America and Europe, although none of the commentators in English that we’ve looked at seem especially concerned about the full frontal male nudity on Elmahdy’s Twitter feed.

Photographer Mallorie Nasrallah, whose self-portrait is in the calendar, says: “When a tool of oppression can be turned in to an assertion of power, it is a beautiful thing. Nudity when celebrated harms no one, and when made shameful and barbaric harms everyone.”