Newsha Tavakolian

A Shah, a Russian and My Grandfather: Iranian Photography, a History
November 3, 2017

The Middle East lacks a history of photography, has almost no museums for photography, or curators with a deep understanding of issues in the region. At the same time, a generation of young photographers from the region has started using and reviewing exactly those restrictions that once halted the growth of photography. In documentary and art photography, tradition and politics have become drivers of new and daring work. Photography is obviously the most democratic and accessible medium nowadays, but we continue to lack platforms to show work. Where are the documentary photography museums? Why should we only rely on Western media or museums to show our work? At the same time, at the rare photography auctions in the region, some of the works sold for high prices are of dreamy images celebrating a beautiful past, rather than documenting the nastiness that is present all around us. A museum of documentary photography is needed in the Middle East, where photographers can have their archives, where local curators can grow and with a quality magazine that will be a platform to publish.