knot (GEREH)

Amak Mahmoodian

2010 - 2012


Gereh in my childhood was eagerness, which became entangled in my memory. The knot of my grandmother’s scarf – she tied her flowery scarf with a ‘sweet knot’, which was different from all the knots I see today. She used to take her scarf off, combed her soft white hair and wore the scarf again, she tied ‘jasmine’ in her scarf, and then the ‘vision knot’.

Many years after, the knot of my grandmother’s scarf and the knots that I see everywhere, turned into stories for me and continue to do so. That is why I spent few months in Tehran reliving and listening to those stories, and putting the stories in to pictures, so that they may be seen and read again and again, to become the eternal knot.

An ‘amorous knot’, a ‘tired knot’, an ‘old knot’, a ‘sad knot’, a ‘pretty knot’, a ‘virgin knot’, and knots which today and every day are tied and untied, and resemble the women who have tied the knots in their scarves and untied them. The reason for taking photos of knots is not only because of its aesthetics and distinct attraction, but also for its attraction to me as a photographer and an artist. After all, my camera is only a tool, which makes these knots memorable.

“Knots” are photos of women and their lives in Iran. The photographs are sincere, without intermediary and documentary photographs. Each photograph has a story of its own. The knots are photos of a new event in Iran, with which every woman is familiar. From February1979, with the beginning of the Islamic Republic in Iran, and the strictures of the religious culture, in the popular masses women carry these knots every day as a symbol of femininity and virginity.

As a result, I consider the photos of women, scarves and the knots not only a work of light on paper, but it is actually a phenomenon, which is derived from thoughts, existence, and non-existence; the must and must not. Perhaps undoing and tying the knots everyday is a sign of beliefs and repetition of religious beliefs. Tying a knot every day in front of the mirror reminds oneself about the standards, the roles and religion. In retrospect, the reason for photographing the knot was to document a part of daily life of women in a different culture, in a society oriented towards religion; this reason was strong and personal.Each woman can express her feelings with a simple Knot without any word.

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