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  • 1/12/2011

“Paris in Tehran” echoes city dwellers’ loneliness


Iranian photographer Mahnaz Ganji features the loneliness of urban dwellers in her exhibition named “Paris in Tehran” opening in Tehran soon.

“Paris in Tehran” will be coming to Axkhaneh Shahr, Iran’s photo museum in Tehran on January 19 where the grainy images attempt to echo the loneliness of urban dwellers.

“Her minimalist pictures are immersed in silence, a frozen instant where imagination explores the contours of unexpected shapes and lights,” writes Ralph Schoolcraft, Associate Professor of French in the Dept. of European and Classical Languages and Cultures at Texas A&M University.

“She is shy when she takes photos, and so allows others to preserve their privacy; very few people ever figure in the field of her frames, despite having as backdrops Paris, New York, and Beijing. In fact, she only spies on the cities, their statues and rivers, teasing secrets from stone and sky,” adds Schoolcraft who is also the author of “Romain Gary: The Man Who Sold His Shadow”.

Mahnaz began to discover her identity as a photographer when she once traveled to Shiraz to visit Persepolis at the age of 22. She took a series of photos and when she took them to develop in a small shop every day, the owner was surprised to see her beautiful photos and offered to sell them in his shop.

A year later, she migrated to the United States and studied political science there. She chose to follow her subjects from within the society.

Ganji left to Paris for a change of atmosphere and an opportunity to polish her style with different types of photos. It was there that she found herself beside one of the most popular Egyptian cinematographers, Ramses Marzouk.

Marzouk has worked as director of photography in more than 50 feature films and many other short and documentary films, and has long been active as the cinematographer of director Youssef Chahine.

Gradually, she began to learn that a stranger can see better and get a better understanding of her surroundings. So in order to become a good photographer you need to become a stranger.

Mahnaz Ganji is currently in Iran, but has not yet begun taking photos. “I would not have a strong motive unless I get a chance to accompany a group of foreign students visiting Iran,” she says.

Ganji is working as an expert in international affairs at one of the universities in Tehran.

The photo exhibit will run until February 7 at the venue of Axkhaneh, which is located on Bahar Shiraz St. near Haft-e Tir Square.

Photo: A photo by Mahnaz Ganji shows Parisians at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

Source: tehrantimes.com

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