In a series of three disparate but consecutive photo essays, Nooshin Shafiee—who moved from the Iranian countryside to Tehran—explores her relationship with photography and life in a metropolis that changes day-by-day.
Daaj, the first in the trilogy, captures the insecurity that Shafiee first experienced when she moved to the capital city. In the short moment between light and darkness—‘Daaj’ translates to “night’s darkness” in Persian—she wandered through the city, letting herself be surprised by isolated, temporary objects that caught her attention, mirroring her own uncertain status as an art student unfamiliar with the city.
In the second essay Funfair, Shafiee’s changing relation to the city and the medium of photography is evident. The images are less stylized, and the scenes take place during the day. While her photos from Daaj reflect the ritualistic and precarious, in Funfair, Shafiees attention is devoted to the banal. Amid an economic crisis in her country, she is gripped by the excess of shiny objects, symbolic of a superficial state of contentment.
In the third, Batten, Shafiee walks the streets of Tehran once again, abandoning academic rules of composition and lighting and staying true to what she can observe. This results in photographs that examine the city from its skeletal structure.
The trilogy is an exploration of Shafiee’s encounters with contemporary city life. The camera is the common denominator that helps her untangle the varied relationships she seeks to navigate: with herself, with photography, and with the city she migrated to.
The work of Nooshin Shafiee is part of the group exhibition Space to Breathe, curated by Newsha Tavakolian and on display in the Grote Kerk Breda.
Nooshin Shafiee (b. 1990, Shahreza, Iran) currently lives and works in Tehran. She has participated in various group exhibitions and collaborated with the composer Siavash Amini on his album “A Mimesis Of Nothingness,” in which the tracks enter into a dialogue with Shafiee’s photographs.
Location: Grote Kerk