Mehraneh Atashi Prints
Mehraneh Atashi is an internationally acclaimed artist based in Tehran who has participated in major exhibitions around the world.
One of the youngest women to work as a photographer in Iran, Mehraneh began her photographic career as a photojournalist. In 2002 after graduating from the Arts University of Tehran she increasingly worked on her own art based projects.
Mehraneh first gained attention with her series "Zourkhaneh"; photographs taken in a traditional male sports centre in Tehran, where religious practice prohibits the presence of women. It took Mehraneh many months to gain the permission and trust of the men at the centre to agree to her taking photographs. Using mirrors she produced images that showed the semi-clad men taking part in their ritualised sporting exercises with herself reflected in the background.
The impulse behind the work was not to confront the gender issues so often raised here in the west when discussing Iranian issues. Rather Mehraneh wanted to document the city and its traditions of which the "Zourkhanehis" is an important part. When the photographs were exhibited in Berlin in 2005, Mehraneh was quick to point out to the German media that their questions about her gender and the forbidden nature of the images missed the point and that this work was not about politics.
Mehraneh's series "Self-Portraits; Tehran Project" again explores her interest in Tehran and her experience of living in a city that is changing quickly. To be premiered at the FORMAT 2011 Photography Festival, "Self-Portraits; Tehran Project" has won the Paul Hill EXPOSURE' Award for an emerging photographer at a key stage in their career. Paul Hill commented, "I am delighted to help support emerging photographic talent and innovative approaches that celebrate the primacy of the image so redolent in Mehrani Atashi's work, which imaginatively and tellingly makes the personal political. It typifies the ambition of FORMAT to bring new work to a wider audience."
Mehraneh has exhibited in Tehran at the Silk Road Gallery and 9th Biennial of Iranian Contemporary Photography in 2004. Her work has also been exhibited internationally including as a guest at Paris Photo in 2004; at the 2006 Cultural Festival – Images of the Middle East in Denmark and "Thirty Years of Solitude", at Cambridge University in 2007.