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Photographer Takes on Stereotypes by Capturing the Diversity of Iranian Father-Daughter Relationships

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During her time in Malaysia, roughly 3,500 miles away from her home in Iran, photographer Nafise Motlaq was troubled by the way people would talk about her country’s culture. Partially perpetuated by the media, she saw people making judgements without any first-hand knowledge of the country’s actual culture.

It was this frustration with misrepresentation that, once she was home, inspired Motlaq to pick up her camera and begin an intimate series of photographs exploring the father-daughter relationship in Iran.

Zahra's father is a farm worker. "He works a lot. He works so much," she said.
Zahra’s father is a farm worker. “He works a lot. He works so much,” she said.

As she explained in an interview with Slate:

There is a stereotype of Iranian men and women, which you see in a lot of mainstream media. This simple project is a reaction to that. It’s about real portraits of Iranians.

Motley notes that while in the realm of things, the relationships between daughters and fathers in Iran aren’t much different than other places. She wanted to use her photography to shed light on the diversity that lies within the intricate culture of Iran.

Specifically, she told Slate, it was the, “diversity of families, opinions, and classes of society” that she wanted to capture.

Shima and Lina's father is a civil project manager."Our father has studied in Europe. That's why he gave us all freedom the western youths have in personal life," they said.
Shima and Lina’s father is a civil project manager.”Our father has studied in Europe. That’s why he gave us all freedom the western youths have in personal life,” they said.

The fathers in the photographs vary in professions from farmers to engineers. And this class difference, when paired with quotes from the daughters themselves, helped to paint the picture Motlaq set out to create.

Her end goal was to show that, “Iranian men are not all the same. There are a lot of successful Iranian women in universities, business, art, science, and industry and we should understand most of them have very supporting fathers and male friends in their life.”

Arezoo’s father is a carpet salesman.“He is a very funny man. He makes people laugh with his jokes and acts in family parties,” she said.
Arezoo’s father is a carpet salesman.“He is a very funny man. He makes people laugh with his jokes and acts in family parties,” she said.
Fatemeh's father is office employee. "He is a good father. I don't know what to add," she said.
Fatemeh’s father is office employee. “He is a good father. I don’t know what to add,” she said.
Katayoon's father is a retired army man."My friends think he cares about me too much but I think he is a great supporter in my life," she said.
Katayoon’s father is a retired army man.”My friends think he cares about me too much but I think he is a great supporter in my life,” she said.
Fatemeh's father is a librarian in a mosque."People think I don't have freedom because my father is a cleric but it's not true. He gave me permission to visit the national book fair with my friends when I was 15," she said.
Fatemeh’s father is a librarian in a mosque. “People think I don’t have freedom because my father is a cleric but it’s not true. He gave me permission to visit the national book fair with my friends when I was 15,” she said.
Shadi's father is a businessman."There is a stubborn boy in his soul. You should know how to deal with him," she said.
Shadi’s father is a businessman.”There is a stubborn boy in his soul. You should know how to deal with him,” she said.
Zahra's father is jobless."I don't know what to say about him. I really don't," she said.
Zahra’s father is jobless.”I don’t know what to say about him. I really don’t,” she said.
Mahsa's father is a veteran."He is always my hero but I wish he was a hopeful happy father he used to be," she said.
Mahsa’s father is a veteran.”He is always my hero but I wish he was a hopeful happy father he used to be,” she said.

Motlaq is a senior lecturer at University Putra Malaysia. You can find more of her work on her website or by following her on Instagram.

(via Slate)


Image credits: Photographs by Nafise Motlaq and used with permission

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