Amak Mahmoodian

2007 - Ongoing


Not a long time passed from the invention of photography in Europe before photography arrived in Iran. According to Tahmasbpoor (Photographer Naserod_din shah, 2002) as early as 1844 (1260 in the Iranian calendar) an Iranian, for the first time, stood as the subject for a photographer. The portrait was made by the Qajar king Naserod-din shah.

In 2004, I visited the Golestan museum and worked on my archival research for 2 years. Golestan Archives are located in central Tehran, which was once a home for Qajars, and the king’s wives, Harem women.I decided to use some of these old historical photographs as talking points as they have unlimited things to say. I looked at the archival photographs from the Qajar period and chose a number of photographs, which I used as mask.

In my practice, I decided to tell my story through the others, the others who lived in the past and their lives and stories still exist in the present. I recalled my past to realise who I am today, archives build a bridge between yesterday and today. We can reframe our past to tell our today’s stories, to explore the similarities and the differences.

Which faces would have to be concealed behind these historical masks? I started taking photographs of people around me, whom I see every day. In some photos there were so many masks on a face that I forget the real face. The ones hiding behind the mask of the past has many of the past attributes that I can see and feel. The masks of the past mythifies the absence and presence in my work.

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