About the Photographer
Iranian, b. 1978
In her "By an Eye Witness" series, Azadeh Akhlaghi creates images of past events for which photographs do not exist. Her process specifically comments on the many dramatic, tragic deaths that mark Iran’s modern history. Pairing images with explanatory texts in both English and Farsi, each work is a thoughtful reconstruction of historical events based on a combination of archived information, news reports, and conflicting accounts from witnesses. Assassinations, torture, accidents, suspicious and natural deaths are all represented in the series; each death—whether of a political activist, intellectual, or journalist— marks a turning point in Iran’s turbulent modern history, crossing political and factional lines, to which all Iranians can relate.
Azadeh Akhlaghi earned a BA in Computer Science from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. She worked as the assistant director of Abbas Kiarostami and Manijeh Hekmat while completing short movies featured in film festivals at the Berkeley Art Museum, Pusan, and Oslo. Akhlaghi has received several awards, including the 2019 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography at the Peabody Museum, the 2016 Sovereign Mena Art Prize, and was awarded third place in 2009 in the UN-Habitat Photography Competition. Akhlaghi has exhibited her works internationally, including exhibitions at the 2017 Arles festival in France and the 6th and 7th Contemporary Istanbul Arts festivals. This series was featured in the 2012 MoCP exhibition titled Burnt Generation: Contemporary Iranian Photography.