All along the hurricane with Newsha Tavakolian

Fotojournalism combined with the urge to tell a story, which does not end today but it ends with the saying, if you do not make something out of your life – it is truly your own fault. If you do something, everything else will follow, maybe even stopping hurricanes.

But to start with old pictures, black-and-white on glass are shown. Over a 100 years old and showing a variety of people: young, adults, elders, men on horses with muskets and wearing mustaches thick as horse fur, and women topping their heads with strangely looking hats. There is no smile nor fear nor agony in their faces, just simply the expression of living a humble life. An ancient Persian world where proud people are staring into the camera and no hurricane in sight. Everything seems peaceful on the outside, and…

… generations pass and years turn into decades. Young Newsha receives her first camera, a Minolta 2000 with a 50 mm lens with the consequence that you have to stand close-by when things are happening – within the crowed, nearby warriors when they shoot and die, nearby everything. Her earlier pictures are a lovely homage to trial and error as she said about herself. „I was not good but I was learning and I got a chance to make crappy pictures which had been published. Not every young girl got that chance.“ Newsha gets older, gets more assignments, and…

… again pictures are shown with mothers and their martyr sons, aging mothers and their still young sons but clear similarities. Eyes tell a story, a life story. A mother looking for her son, a son taken away from his future. And eyes start to speak to you, why why why….and…

… here we are in the middle of a hurricane with wars and isolation and a culture at the turning point, where women are still not allowed to sing solo in public, where young girls at the age of 9 are turned into woman, starting to wear the Hijab and learn to pray. For them the very safety magic of childhood ends at that moment and something else takes over. Religion and regime, the double Rs of cruelty in modern times are still not vanished. They simply occupy peoples life. And not to a certain extend, yet to every extend. And how strange it must feel to link politics with your daily life. What difference does that make? When politics are good, your life is good, when politics are bad, agony and misery kicks in. What is left? Protests? Silent protests? Violent protests? Supporters on both sides? Still there is an ongoing hurricane all over the country. How to tame a hurricane? Hope? Surely not.

Hope can be taken away in loosing the license to make pictures, to publish, to speak out lout, to express yourself in public. That kind of hope, your day-to-day-hope, not only to survive but to do something – if you fail, so what?, But you are still in the hurricane, remember?

Stopping it can only be done by stopping the imbalance which created hurricanes. Some people say, everything balances over time. Who wants to wait a lifetime for things to pass by? Newshas photojournalism combined with the urge to tell a story pauses the moment to see its full size and devastating effects, but it does not make it go away. But again, as she says boldly: You have to do something and if not, it is your own fault, and maybe, eventually, everything gets balanced…


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