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10/24/13

MODERNITY OF TRADITION: Photography exhibition in London in support of the Omid Foundations

Source: Omid Foundation


Modernity of Tradition: The Photography of Omid Salehi
October 28 to November 2, 2013
Richard Young Gallery, London
4 Holland St, London W8 4LT
Venue and Dates | Artist | | Gallery

An exhibition of photographs by Omid Salehi in support the Omid Foundations. The exhibition includes over 40 limited edition photographs by the artist. This is a truly unique opportunity to purchase photographs of exceptional importance at very attractive prices and at the same time supporting the work of the Omid Foundations.

Images, sizes and prices are shown on the Gallery page. Prices are inclusive of packing and shipping. Contact info@omid-e-mehr.org for availability and purchase

Please do not copy or reproduce any of the images from this exhibition without written permission from the copyright holder. The copyright of the images belongs to Omid Salehi.

We are most indebted to Omid Salehi for generously donating his works of art, and to Massoud Behnoud and Malu Halasa for contributing their insightful remarks shown below, to Shirley Elghanian and Magic of Persia for being the main sponsors of the exhibition and to Susan Young and the Richard Young Gallery for hosting the exhibition at their gallery.

Journalist, historian and writer MASOUD BEHNOUD on the work of Omid Salehi

The world would be a better place only if...

Omid Salehi is not an ordinary photographer; he is not even a photographer, nor does he wish to be known as one. His camera is not also just a camera. It’s an eye that sees, observes, selects and saves. Each time an incident affects him, enrages him, hurts him or makes him cry, he picks up his camera and captures a moment. For anything that is worth any attention, his lens cap drops and his camera shoots a picture to shake the hearts of men and make them wonder. Omid’s pictures are not pretty for they reflect the cruel realities, and they are not to beautify walls but rather to break walls. His pictures are not ugly, either, for they are real and honest. The most hideous truths are far more beautiful than any lies just as the smallest of sunshine is worth a thousand colorful covers and luxury curtains.

Omid’s pictures are no cliches. They’re for those of us who don’t ignore hardships lingering all around us but stand strong, look closely and fight. Omid is hoping to make the responsible inner person come alive in each and every one of us.

Ebrahim Golestan in the beginning of Forough Farokhzad’s movie The House is Black says, “The world is not lacking in ugliness. The ugliness in the world would have been more if Man had closed eyes on it. But Man is the seeker of solutions.” And today we know better than ever that the best way out is to look and care, not to see and look away. We have to take our eyes to the festival of inevitables, losses, falls, and failures and have them watch until our hearts and minds can absorb every detail. It’s only then that we can say man is able to find solutions. Looking closely at pictures by Omid Salehi can be the first step. So far he has not tried to sell his pictures, but the world already knows him through the way he points at the wounds and screams out the pain in the loudest possible voice of a picture. However, he is now displaying his pictures for sale to fundraise for the Omid Foundation, which is a center for underprivileged young women in Iran who have been the subject of abuse and injustice. The Omid Foundation is a shelter for those women whose bodies and souls have been severely hurt simply for being a woman. Omid looked and reflected on this issue long enough to find a way out. He was shaken and moved by it and finally decided to offer his pictures to those bleeding hearts who wish to lessen the pain of these women and soothe their wounds.

Omid’s pictures are not for hanging on walls and enjoying, rather they are reflections of real pains that were felt and screamed by real people. They are for us, for you and me to look and find a way out, to make world a better place to live in. This is the ultimate hope of a photographer like Omid Salehi.

Editor, journalist and art critic MALU HALASA on this exhibition

The Iran that Omid Salehi has been photographing for nearly a quarter of a century is one of intensity and unexpected beauty. Salehi started working at the age of seventeen in Shiraz and has since won numerous photographic awards. He belongs to a generation of artists whose experiences of the Islamic Republic have only served to strengthen their resolve to document the social transformation of their country. Salehi’s images embody geometrical patterns of movement and design. They reveal the extraordinary in the everyday - a gathering of women across a sacred terrain of a religious festival; the solicitude of men in an ancient hammam; or the interplay of sunlight and water among children herding buffalo.

The photographs in the exhibition also present a visual critique of Iranian self-perception in regards to expectations projected by society at large - at home and abroad. There is a level of disconnect between what is and what could be in Salehi’s photos of truck drivers and their cabs plastered with pictures of movie stars and wealth. Similarly religious tourists to the tenth-century city of Mashad document their pilgrimages by having their souvenir portraits taken in front of murals of mosques instead of the actual holy sites.

His work captures the harder edges of “the modernity of tradition”, as described by the writer Coco Ferguson. Salehi’s photo-book, The Control Project, was borne out of his experiences of seeing so many CCTV cameras while visiting London. Inside his Tehran apartment building, he spies on neighbours, close up and nervous under his ever-watchful surveillance camera. This Iran is raw and uncovered. Also included in the exhibition is another photo-book, Fragmented Lives, which explores the schizophrenic existence of a cyber-obsessed younger generation who thrive on the internet. Meanwhile his video Distances illustrates the discordant relationship, between the public and private lives of Iranians across the great divide of exile, on Skype.

The intriguing photographs, books and films of Omid Salehi not only challenge existing perceptions of Iran, they reveal a country and a people like never before.

OMID SALEHI on this exhibition:

Running a photography workshop at the Omid Foundations in Tehran was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. There you come face to face with a group of young women who have been abandoned by society. They are all victims of various kinds of mental, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. At the Omid Foundations they are given the tools to pick up the broken pieces of their lives and put them back together. It is a place of miracles, a place which allows these young women to rediscover their inner beauty and turns them into self-confident and positive individuals who not only can take care of themselves but have also learned the importance of helping others in need. This exhibition is dedicated to these young women, whose courage and resilience is something I will never forget. And to the many individuals who let me into their lives and allowed me to take photographs of some of their most intimate experiences, some of whom you can see in the images of this exhibition.

I wish to express my gratitude to Susan Young who so generously allowed me to present this exhibition at her gallery, to Shirley Elghanian who has supported me not only with this exhibition but in every step of my career since I met her in 2010, to Malu Halasa who wrote the introduction for this exhibition and has always shared with me her insightful thoughts about my work, and to all my friends who devoted their time to study my photographs and allowed me to see my own work through their eyes. Their number is too large to list here, but I need to make special mention of Sara Amini, Parinaz Fahimi, Hossein Firouzkouhi, Katayoun Forouhesh, Roya Izadi, Borna Izadpanah, Vali Mahlouji, Zahra Rezai-Afsah, Laili Sadr, Samar Saleki and Amir-Hossein Safari.

Supported by



Omid Foundation

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