Thursday, June 5, 2008

Let Freedom Bling




I just came across Shirin Aliabadi’s work and her two series “Miss Hybrid” (above) and “Freedom Is Boring, Censorship Is Fun” (below). In Aliabadi’s pictures, the subjects are young Iranian women who in spite of the oppression of Islam seem to be defying our stereotypes and having a good time. It’s a welcome revision to our view of the Middle East.

“Freedom Is Boring, Censorship Is Fun” like Andrew Bush’s “Vector Portraits” focuses on the way we live in cars to find its insights into contemporary life. Clearly the idea is as valid in Tehran as on Interstate 405.

Aliabadi’s latest series, “Miss Hybrid”, pokes fun at the style and beauty trends among fashionista Iranians, where the current vogue is for blond hair, light-colored contact lenses, occasional facial piercing and most importantly, surgical nose tape. (It's like the current trend for faux glasses.)

“Miss Hybrid” Aliabadi suggests, should be seen as an alternative beauty manifesto positing that natural beauty is unfair, elitist, and irrelevant - while artificial beauty and the need to transform into someone else via cosmetic intervention can be regarded as a healthy exercise in cultural rebellion and global integration. Now that's an radical and original concept!







Another picture from the "Miss Hybrid" series.


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fascinating. These portraits are exquiste - great nose tape. Thanks for posting such interesting insights into photography and life.

jen said...

love these - can't help being reminded of cindy sherman. the iranian women want to be the american stereotype sherman pokes fun at.

...love Maegan said...

wow.

Anonymous said...

Amazing! I'll add a relevant personal anecdote: when I was younger, my family used to live in Saudi Arabia, where women were forced to don the head-to-toe black 'aabaiya', which quite obviously limited the forms of fashion-rebellion that one could commit. My mom, ever the fashionista, despised this. After about 6 years of this treatment we moved to (the much more lenient, but still very traditional) Egypt, where there was no such dress code. Immediately, my mom dyed her hair platinum blonde, teased it, made it huge, wore (and still wears) the most outrageous outfits imaginable. Think Dee Snider, here. Anyhow, I've always seen her shock of golden hair as a defiant gesture against the Saudis more than an attempt at personal beautification/

Lydia said...

These are great shots. My current read is: Reading Lolita in Tehran. These women remind me of the spirit and beauty described in the book.

Claudio said...

I just can´t get enough of the picture of the woman with the candy!
I agree with the person who used to live in Saudi Arabia with her mother, I think it´s not just about beautification...