Ebrahim Noroozi

Deceptive daydreams

© Ebrahim Noroozi

One glance at the photos that won Ebrahim Noroozi several World Press Photo Awards is enough to immediately grasp the astounding versatility of this Iranian photographer, an established journalist and a staunch defender of the environment, but also a visual artist with an innovative approach. He enjoys an impressive international reputation: his work journeys from his native Iran to India and Afghanistan, and graces the pages of the world’s most prestigious magazines such as Time, The New York Times and The Washington Post. In one series, he documents the terrifying story of a mother and daughter who were both subject to an acid attack by their husband and father. In another, he takes a no-holds-barred look at his home country, condemning the use of hanging as a death penalty.

However, this photographic chameleon also embraces a more enigmatic stance, venturing into abstraction with artistic work that features nature, the elements and a masterful use of colour. Two series by Ebrahim Noroozi are on show at La Gacilly, exhibiting a photographic style that seems to come straight from a waking dream inspired by the ravages of global warming. To illustrate this reality, Noroozi moves away from the photojournalistic take that he knows so well to apply a more artistic approach that, by freeing him from the boundaries of facts, lets him evoke his message with astonishing aesthetic power.

Using codes inspired by dreams, the first series –The Narative of a Dream– focuses on the relationship between people and water resources in his country: one third of Iran is covered by desert and droughts are becoming increasingly frequent, leading to major water shortages. 

The second –On its last legs– takes us to Lake Urmia, one of the world’s largest saltwater lakes that will no doubt cease to exist one day, and whose waters, when summer arrives, turns almost purple due to algae and bacteria. In the reddish water, bodies lie weightless, representing humanity’s profound inertia before the climatic and tectonic changes it has brought about and which will eventually challenge its ability to survive on this planet.

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