"I discovered a country rich in culture, art, and history, yet what struck me most was how Iran has remained frozen in time. My camera was an instrument with which to document the strong aura of history I experienced in Iran. My journal was an integral part in documenting my personal journey through my homeland. It was here where I unleashed all of the feelings I was struggling with, questions of identity, the idea of ‘home’, and societal differences that were hard for me to accept as a woman who has lived her life so far outside of Iran... It was a journey I had been eagerly anticipating my whole life." –Shahrzad Kamel, speaking of her first visit to Iran in 2006
A contemporary Iranian-American photographer chronicles her recent journeys into the interior of Iran and Afghanistan - two of the most troubled regions in the world.
Shahrzad Kamel grew up in San Francisco, London and Istanbul. After completing a BA degree in Geography and Politics at Queen Mary College, University of London she moved to Istanbul to seriously pursue photography as a career, and to work as an assistant to Turkish documentary photographer Alp Sime. Shahrzad divides her time between Istanbul and New York but is currently living in Istanbul and working on a series of documentary projects. She recently received her Masters in Arts from New York University. She has participated in group exhibitions at the Rosenberg Gallery, 80 Washington Square East Galleries, Wagner Gallery (Puck Building) and the Kimmel Center, New York; and the Pingyao International Photography Festival, China. In 2005 she had her first solo exhibition at Fotografevi, in Istanbul, Turkey.
As a child of immigrant parents, and growing up away from her ancestral homeland in Iran, Shahrzad Kamel developed an early interest in photography as a means of investigating her origins, her identity and her place in the world. It was only through looking at photographs that she could imagine what life might be like in Iran. Her formal academic studies have examined socio-political and cultural forces in the modern world.
The other series featured in this exhibition is from Afghanistan. In 2004 Kamel traveled from Baku to Kabul. Just two years after the ousting of the Taliban regime life was beginning to change in the Afghan capital. "I was fascinated with Kabul from the moment I arrived, an unsettled city with such a tragic history, and uncertain future…I spent a lot of time photographing in the streets, and in markets."
Click here for exhibition press release, November 2007 (pdf format)
|Untitled, from the series: A New Generation Afghanistan, 2004|
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