The Qajar Series, Inspired by The Studio Portraiture First Introduced to Iran in The Late 19th Century
These photographs are from a series of thirty-three portraits by Shadi Ghadirian, a contemporary artist who was inspired by the studio portraiture first introduced to Iran in the late nineteenth century under the Qajar dynasty (1794–1925).
In order to re-create the earlier setting, Ghadirian employs painted backdrops and dresses her models in vintage clothes to emulate the fashion of the day: headscarves and short skirts worn over baggy trousers, as well as thick, black eyebrows. She adds modern elements to these traditional scenes, such as a Pepsi can, a boom box, a bicycle and an avant-garde Tehran newspaper.
She has said of her work, “My pictures became a mirror reflecting how I felt: we are stuck between tradition and modernity.”