Shadi Ghadirian is an Iranian artist living and working in Iran. The photos from her 2005 series Qajar challenge popular perceptions of  Iranian culture and tradition. Ghadirian states “It does not make a difference to me what place the Iranian woman has in the world because I am sure no one knows much about it.” This statement seems intentionally naive and is slightly biting, as it is apparent by her images that she cares a great deal…

Shadi Ghadirian, Untitled from Qajar series, 2005

At first glance these photos seem historic. The setting and traditional costume of the photo as well as the sepia tone of the print create an antique feel. The boom box, however, is our clue that something curious is happening here. The initial joke is that the 1980s radio is out of place in the antique setting, but the boom box is also a thing of the past… so which is more modern? Ghadirian uses humour to describe a contemporary Iranian female experience of existing as if outside of time.

Shadi Ghadirian, Untitled from Qajar series, 2005

“When I did the Qajar series of photographs, I had just graduated and the duality and contradiction of life at that time provided the motive for me to display this contrast: a woman who one can not say to what time she belongs; a photograph from two eras; a woman who is dazed; a woman who is not connected to the objects in her possession. It was very natural that after marriage, vacuum cleaners and pots and pans find their way into my photographs; a woman with a different look, a woman who no matter in what part of the world she is living, still has these kinds of apprehensions.”

Check out more images from this series here.

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