An MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography alumni Mojgan Ghanbari was recently awarded a Getty Grant for Editorial Photography.
We caught up with her to find out a bit more about her work and how she is going to use the grant.
“I am passionate about exploring the ways myself and other women interact with society. This passion has consistently led me to consider female-related themes in my work, whether in Iran or abroad.
“During my MA I decided to develop a project called ‘Zanan’, a photography book that I had been working towards for a few years prior to studying.
“This project explores the lives of women that grew up in the same world as I did. They’re modern women who have consistently pushed against discrimination but are also conflicted between observing old traditions and an ideological desire for modern values and freedom.
“Whilst I was desperate to produce the book during my time on the course, I soon realised that the project needed more time and much more financial and editorial support in order to come to fruition. I started to do some research into the process of applying for photographic funding, and came across the Getty Grants.
“A few months down the line I feel so honored and privileged to be able to call myself a recipient of a Getty Grant for Editorial Photography. The money will enable me to keep working on this project and hopefully make a real impact on understanding the realities of femininity in contemporary Iran.
“For over twenty years the news and imagery coming out of Iran has been dominated by veiled, oppressed women. This incorrect perception of Iranian women in the West is dictated by the stereotypical images of the broadcast news media. As an Iranian woman, I have seen things differently.
“During the three decades after the revolution, women have made significant gains in their rights to an education. Currently more than 60 percent of Iranian university’s intake are women; a fact that worries Muslim extremists. Iran now faces many young women who have found the courage to express their demands, despite the fact that any objection faces a backlash from the patriarchal power, of both family and society.
“For over two years now, I have been documenting the daily lives of women in Tehran, the most modern city in the country. My main aim with this project is to document the experience of being a young Iranian woman. By doing this I can lend my voice to a previously unheard group and challenge the perceptions of Iranian women in the world.
“I wish to expand this research and document how factors like religion, old traditions and modernity can characterise a woman’s identity in Iran today.
“For me studying at LCC wasn’t just about attending workshops and acquiring practical skills, it was about being surrounded by other talented young photographers and learning everyday through discussions, editing processes and hanging out together.
“The relationships I built at LCC were lasting and have led to some wonderful things. I’m now involved in a photography collective with four young female photographers who all met during the MA. We are based in different cities right across the world, but we are using this flux to our advantage, telling bigger stories from different parts of the world. Our collective is called Milk and aims to articulate stories from female perspectives through photography.”