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Contemporary photography as a cultural practice by diasporic Iranians in Europe



The project explores the visual culture of contemporary photography as central medium of socio-political expression in the light of ongoing political restriction and repression. With a focus on professional artistic and documentary photographers from Iran who have migrated to Europe, the aim of the project is an anthropological investigation of photography as cultural production in times of political crises, change and transnational migration. Protests against totalitarian politics in Iran have been going on since the revolution in 1979, whereas in 2009 the “Green Revolution” protests responding to the presidential elections reached another peak. The remarkable political oppression that followed the protest, forced numerous Iranians to leave the country. Among them were many professional photographers who established a transnational visual culture of critique. This project will investigate photography by migrant Iranians as an emancipatory tool for a culture of critique across geo-political borders and as an important source for alternate narratives in contrast to a national and international state-controlled media presentation. With its focus on transnational migration and artistic intervention of photographic practice, the study will challenge and push the theoretical and methodological boundaries of anthropology. Following ethnographic methodologies of multi-sited fieldwork in both the migration contexts as well as in Iran, the project seeks to investigate the cultural practice of photography outside the mainstream media discourse and with particular consideration of biographic studies.

The upcoming program will be published here.



The project leader, Cathrine Bublatzky, is indebted to the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung for the financial support of this research project by the Eliteprogram for Postdocs.

Duration: 3 years

Contact: Dr. Cathrine Bublatzky