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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 social expression. 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 crises, change and transnational migration. Numerous Iranians migrated to other destinations and left their country. Among them were many professional photographers who contribute to a transnational visual culture of photography. This project will investigate photography by migrant Iranians as an emancipatory tool 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 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  



Bublatzky, Cathrine. 2019. ‘Memory. Belonging. Engaging – Artistic Production in a Migration Context.’ In Handbook of Art and Global Migration: Theories, Practices, and Challenges, edited by Burcu Dogramaci and Birgit Mersmann, 1st ed., 281–97. Berlin: De Gruyter.

with Kaveh Rostamkhani. "Iran: Generation Post-Revolution,A Photo-Essay Contextualized". In eds. Christiane Brosius und Holger Schulze. Special Issue Out of Space. Sensory Practices and Placemaking. Paragrana 28 (2019) 1: 39-62.


Talks and Public Presentation


May 2019

Photo-Documentation and Post-Truth?! The Role of Press Photo Awards and transnational Politis of Representation in Iranian Photo-Documentation".

Keynote "Not without dissent. A transcultural snapshot of diasporic aesthetics and politics of the hijab in art photography, the museum space and public campaigns."

April 2019

"Aesthetics of an Iranian Diaspora. The Artist Parastou Forouhar."

Archive 2018

Archive 2017