Newsha Tavakolian

Newsha Tavakolian

Newsha Tavakolian

A view of a microphone and an empty stage in Tehran, 2013 © Newsha Tavakolian for the Fondation Carmignac

Newsha Tavakolian

A group of school girls, 2013 © Newsha Tavakolian for the Fondation Carmignac

The theme of this fifth edition is Iran, a power at the center of international geostrategic challenges. Its geographic position, its economic situation, its nuclear potential today place Iran at a decisive moment in its history.

Newsha Tavakolian – Blank pages of an Iranian photo album

Newsha Tavakolian’s reportage focuses on the feeling of claustrophobia experienced by the younger generation in Iran. Using the theme of a family photo album, her photographs depict young middle-class people caught between the contradictory pressures of an increasingly modern society and an Islamic revolutionary ideology.

“The family photo album is the showcase for my generation. The yellowed albums and the pictures of smiling children dressed up in their best clothes are testament to our hopes and dreams, but they end in blank pages, and the moment when our parents stopped taking our pictures […]

For me Iran is the country where I was born. I went to school here, started my career, and never left. As a photographer I have always struggled with how to perceive my society, with all its complexities and misunderstandings. For this project, I have decided to continue producing the photo albums of my generation. To add the pictures that were never taken of the way that life is for them now, as adults. I followed nine people who in a sense define this generation. They are interchangeable, thus representative of many people. This photo album is theirs; it is my vision of life in Iran now, unromantic and confined. Those who feature on the pages are interchangeable, placed randomly in the natural situation of what is or could be their daily lives.

I began by collecting some childhood snapshots from their own family albums. After that, I took a series of pictures that show their lives today, like reportage. They are not necessarily present in these images, but the pictures illustrate the way they live in the four corners of the megalopolis that is Tehran.

I have brought them to a mountain overlooking Tehran, Iran’s capital […] In this disarray I have asked them to find their own space, even though it may not be much bigger than their own two feet. Contrary to all the other images, these nine portraits are staged. Now, what matters to me is that this work communicates the feelings some have here in Iran. These images will not change anything, nor will they help anybody. What I hope is that they represent a generation marginalized by those speaking in their name.”

Visit the photographer’s website

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  • Anahita Ghabaian jury chairman, director of the Silk Road Gallery in Tehran
  • Christian Caujolle independant curator
  • Sam Stourdzé director of the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne
  • Jean-Pierre Perrin international reporter with Libération, specialist of the area
  • Davide Monteleone winner of the 2012 Carmignac Photojournalism Award
  • Celina Lunsfordt vice-president of the Deutsche Academy, artistic director of the Fotografie Forum Frankfurt
  • Reza photographer
  • Jérôme Sessini photographer
  • Mark Sealy director of Autograph abp in London

Other Laureats

Newsha Tavakolian