Project Title: Iran, Multi Piece Identity
“He who knows one, knows none,” says Goethe. We can generalise this saying and say “he who knows only one thing, does not actually know that thing” or “he who knows only oneself, does not actually know the self.” The latter is the basis upon which I aim to investigate the concept of identity in my country, Iran.
Iran’s government since the 1979 revolution has put its people in a paradoxical life through depriving them of the concept of “the Other”, turning them into identity-less and lost beings despite their historical and cultural background.
It insists on only one religion, one costume (the obligatory Hijab), one way of life; it denies its citizens the right to be the Other, think about the Other and believe in the Other.
The consequence of such unification would be depriving the people of the right to know “the self”. “The Other” is not allowed to express itself, so no one will be able to know himself or herself either. “The self” represents itself only through the mirror of “the Other”; unfortunately, he who omits the Other is doomed to omit himself. The Other (thinking, being and living it) is forbidden to the post-revolutionary Iranian; the weak Other which is present in this country is not recognised and is usually banned.
The obligation to be partying on a specific day and lamenting on another, the ban on satellites, the filtering out of websites and social networks, obligatory Hijab, the ban on alcoholic drinks (the punishment for which is being lashed ) and etc. These issues are present in people’s private lives despite their legal and social boundaries. Therefore, people start to believe in a set of meaningless words; also, considering the fact that all of the above are against the laws recorded in the constitution of Iran, doing them will generate a sense of guilt in everyone’s mind and character. This is one major reason why people lose their identities and give in to a set of paradoxical actions some of which will be expounded on in the present paper. The government’s attempt to unify the society and its interference in the private lives of the people deprives the people of the possibility to express their real self in the outer surface of society; this is the process which will result in the fragmentation of the character and makes one unable to know the real “self”.
Hashem Shakeri was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1988. He studied architecture in TAFE (New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission of Australia) and also participated in the Photography Foundation Program at the same university. He began practicing photography in 2007 and started a professional career in documentary photography in 2010. Since then he has been working as a freelancer on a range of commissions and private projects in Iran, Turkey, Korea, Malaysia and France.
His main concern in documentary photography is to explore human relations and social justice. Through his photography, he tries to depict the lost identity of the modern man/woman.
Hashem Shakeri has been working as a photojournalist for various Iranian news agencies and newspapers since 2008. He has taken part in 50 national and international festivals and has won more than 10 awards, among them a “Commended Award” in the 2015 Ian Parry Scholarship and the Lucas Dolega Award 2016.
His works have been published in numerous publications around the world and he has been a member of the Iranian Photographers Society since 2010.
He has also had experience in making feature films and documentaries.