Amak Mahmoodian

 Amak Mahmoodian. Photo: Amak Mahmoodian, self-portait © 

Amak Mahmoodian. Photo: Amak Mahmoodian, self-portait © 

Lecture: Friday 12.00–13.00 in Caroline Cinema

Exhibition: Gallery The Bakery (Nordic Light House) 



About Amak Mahmoodian

Amak Mahmoodian is an Iranian artist – photographer, film maker and curator – who lives in Bristol, Great Britain. She graduated from the University of South Wales in 2015 with a practice PHD in photography. Her body of work “Shenasnameh” was published as a book in 2016. The book has since been shortlisted for a number of awards, such as Time Magazine 2016 and Arthur Book, Rencontres Arles 2016. In addition, the work has been widely exhibited internationally. 

Mahmoodian’s work questions the identity, it expresses something personal which pertains to a general issue. She explores her own identity through her projects and each project is a chapter of her life – and a journey, inside and outside. 

For Amak, the hallmark of photography is telling the truth – photographs are magical and full of mysteries.

Another Meeting, In Vein (By Amak Mahmoodian) 

Not a long time passed from the invention of photography in Europe before photography arrived in Iran. According to Tahmasbooor (Photographer Naserod_din shah, 2002) as early as 1844 (1260 in the Iranian calendar) an Iranian woman, for the first time, stood as the subject for a photographer. The portrait was made by the Qajar king Naserod-din shah, who took up photography as a result of being given the gift of a camera from Queen Victoria.

In 2004, I visited the Golestan museum and worked on my archival research for 2 years. Golestan Archives are located in central Tehran, which was once a home for Qajars, and the king’s wives, Harem women.I decided to use some of these old historical photographs as talking points as they have unlimited things to say. I looked at the archival photographs from the Qajar period and chose a number of photographs, which I used as masks.

Which faces would have to be concealed behind these historical masks? I started taking photographs of people around me, whom I see every day. In some photos there were so many masks on a face that I forget the real face. The ones hiding behind the mask of the past has many of the past attributes that I can see and feel. The masks of the past mythifies the absence and presence in my work.


Selection of work by Amak Mahmoodian