By her own admission, Maryam Firuzi did not plan on becoming a photographer. This talented Iranian filmmaker, who has a degree in Persian calligraphy and film studies, discovred the syntax of the still image during projects for her studies and her work on a thesis about cinematic introspection.
“In my opinion, all artistic mediums are intertwined,” she said in an interview with Paris Photo, when her work was being exhibited by the Silk Road Gallery in Tehran. “My photography is influenced by all of these art forms in different ways: Calligraphy taught me dicipline and self-dedication, Painting taught me freedom of expression, and literature taught me how to develop ideas and articulate them.”
Her fundamentally innovative vision is clearly expressed in her photographic series as she explores her world, namely present-day Iran. A world in which the place of women is inevitably complex. She reflects on the notion of heritage, wearing veils and hair. She explains: “In my country, where gender is always a deeply sensitive issue in every aspect of society, is it even possible to circumvent my status as a woman in my work? Gender is so omnipresent in my life that I often feel forced to think like a woman and create bodies of work that are only related to women.”
Four series of Maryam Firuzi’s work are on show at La Gacilly, one of which is presented exclusively for the Festival. Four photographic essays demonstrating the breadth and ambition of the author’s work; her creativity and versatility, too. From close-up portraits and staged images in carefully studied decors, to superimposed images and still lifes, the photographer turns her hand to anything and never shies away from any form of expression to get her messages across.
An approach that upends all our notions of “classical” photography with a bold, concetual –even impertinent– vision. As Maryam Firuzi says: “The concepts and themes I explore in my work are approached through the eyes of a little girl asking her teacher a forbidden question.” And thus hoping to break through the walls that stand between the cultures and individuals in her native country.
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