Series of 45 photographs / 13 x 13 cm each / Digital prints / 2014
Iran Autumn 2014
This street photography project contains 45 selected photographs, taken between october and december 2014. It focuses on the visual experience I, as a white European man, have made in Iran. Street photography is one way of artistic expression that deals with tensions and relations in the public sphere, like a visual dairy, taking notes of my presence somewhere. The focus is not an intimate relationship but rather the capture of a by-passing instant, being nevertheless critically aware of the power of images produced by Western visitors and media.
I went to Iran in autumn 2014, at this moment President Rouhani a reformist-backed cleric had been president for one year. He succeded President Ahmadinejad an ultra-conservative politician whose reelection in 2009 had led to student and opposition protests that where violently oppressed. Rouhani resumed negotiation on its nuclear program with the West. The prospect was to lift the sanctions that had been put on Iran in the 90s. In 2014 when I arrived in Iran, the negotiations were still on the way, the deal was concluded in 2015.
Locating the photographs
Iranian Philospher Ramin Jahanbegloo describes the contentious sphere of politics and public space in Iran as follows:
Iran with its young population has today become a society that has achieved moral and political progress through an ability to understand the motives and meanings of dissent as resistance to unjust laws. It is interesting to underline that even as the Iranian political structure is experiencing a crisis of legitimacy and the current power holders have lost moral credibility by virtue of misgovernment and lying in politics, Iranian civil society is redefining its legitimacy by rediscovering and refining its republican principles. The Iranian public space is faced, then, with the problem of combining a rejection of absolute sovereignty with the need to infuse faith in a challenge ‘from below’ – in the independent life of ‘civil society’ outside the frame of state power.
Ramin Jahanbegloo: Civil Society and Democracy in Iran. Introduction. p.xi
Exhibition views. Kaeshmaesh, Vienna, 2017
© Kaeshmaesh & Dilan Tas