“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. Omid’s images embody geometrical patterns of movement and design."
Editor, journalist and art critic Malu Halasa - Read more...
Interview with BBC Persian Tamasha weekly show - 26/01/2012
A Photographer's Journey Through Iran
Award-winning social documentary photographer Omid Salehi captures the unique atmosphere and rhythm of life in contemporary Iran in this affectionate portrait of his homeland. Insightful essays by leading commentators accompany the images, making this an invaluable publication for readers fascinated by this part of the world.
Edited by Rose Issa, with essays by Baqer Moin and Coco Ferguson. 80 pages.
Beyond Art Production, 2011
RRP: £ 15. 80 pages
Every day we see more apartment blocks with video entry phones shops with CCTV cameras. We are much more concerned about security in our urban environments and think that we can achieve that by controlling and monitoring other people’s behavior. What a contrast between this life and the life of years past when everyone felt safe. Every day we find new gadget to feed our need for security. Phones are equipped with built-in cameras. Walking along any street, there’s a chance of an eye watching you from behind a two-way mirror, or the camera on a door entry system checking you out. All of a sudden your privacy is gone.
A Photographer's Journey Through Iran
Review by Malu Halasa, Foto8
17 November, 2011
“Photography is not only his language,” said Magnum photographer Abbas about the work of Iranian Omid Salehi, “it is also his passion…. When you have the passion, the rest is easy.” Omid Salehi: A Photographer’s Journey through Iran, edited by art curator Rose Issa, is a visual feast through the country and its Shi’a Islam faith. However these photographs show a more nuanced, secret side of a country and religion much in the news. Baqer Moin, former head of BBC Persian Service and founder of Jadid Online, explains in his essay included in the book, “The narratives of photo-storytellers like Omid go deep into the social and psychological interactions of a dynamic society on the move, something that catchy political photos and headlines may not always convey.”
Modernity of Tradition: The Photography of Omid Salehi
London, Richard Young Gallery
28 October - 2 November 2013
Visit the exhibition
Review by Masoud Behnoud, Iranian Journalist, Historian and Writer
28 October, 2013
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 colourful covers and luxury curtains.
Omid’s pictures are no clichés. 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.
In this booklet I’m going to share the conversations I had with my landlord over 5 months. Dealing with him showed me the real life in the UK. Not the one that you read in books or see in movies. An unofficial but true experience.
This video shows my passport picture. And it depicts how irritated i get when I am at a passport control and get bombarded and interrogated with thousands of un-related questions.
This work compares a child's exciting attempts to acquire fundamental skills to my own struggles with learning basic necessities to cope with the new world.
Here, the cliché of James Bond, shot in London, resonates with the question about migrants’ labour and their everyday life.
In this video I wanted to show the complicated network of power relationships that an ordinary migrant falls into when s/he comes to the west.
Sound & Photography
A close look at Soho brothels: "Their rooms were colourful and intimate — yet still the scenes of rough, cold sadness."
A blend of my life in Iran and Britain depicted in a virtual trip by Google Maps.
"Being a child on the front line, surrounded by a heavy military presence, was surreal. Like many teenage recruits there, I didn’t fear the war..."
A group video installation about censorship: this project was inspired by a small collection of unfinished Michelangelo paintings, on display at the National Gallery.
A self-narrative about the quest to find a new home.
Facebook stories of the Iranian diaspora.
While many people immigrate their roots remain untouched. This project is about people who have a fractured live torn from their loved ones.
A journey into the last days of a most courageous girl, who fought her brain tumour, right to the end.
Walking along any street, there’s a chance of an eye watching you from behind a two-way mirror, or a doorbell camera. All of a sudden your privacy is gone.
The lives of truck drivers are hard: they long for homeliness — which they try to create through images of celebrities, and verses from the Quran, etc.
Many people pose in front of these, clearly unrealistic collages of the Imam Reza Shrine, as a souvenir of their pilgrimage.
A journey to south of Iran where sugar cane workers burn the canes before harvesting them. They cut the cane with a sharp sickle and frequently injure themselves.
A dancer who was prisoned for two years after the Islamic Revolution founded a private dance after she was freed.
An after effect of Iran-Iraq war the was portrayed in the life of a soldier who spent his last 18 years of life in a coma.
A glimpse of a cleric's daily life in Iran who was the religious teacher of young "Talebs" (students).
"Champion mother" was tattooed on Bahram's arm. A street boy who was forced to go to the streets and perform acrobatic techniques to provide for the family.
She takes the boat all the way into the heart of the sea, sits quietly in her boat, she pulls up her net and takes her daily ration.
These homeless children in Shush Square, one of the most deprived regions in Tehran, snatched watermelons from moving vans.
Vaccination was my first series from 1990, when I was still 17. Its concept and mission were to showcase children’s pain, via their mothers’ faces.
Iranian men must spend two years to fulfill the compulsory military service and they have stories to tell for the rest of their lives.
The life of mentally ill in Salami Village in Shiraz. Some patients died because of infections caused by eating their own faeces.
All images Copyright © Omid Salehi