Photo of the Week: Hoda Afshar

Photo of the Week - 20.03.15

Melbourne-based photographer Hoda Afshar recently returned to her native Iran eight years after migrating to Australia. How do you relate to people, landscapes, atmospheres that have been left behind? Being inside and outside. The feeling of things real and imagined... Her portrait of young boy Ali, gently but proudly defying the gaze of the camera in the misty rocky mountains, captures it all in a most complex simplicity.

Hoda tells the story behind the image: Soobatan Village, in northern Iran. It sits in a mountain range so high, it exists above the clouds. They call it ‘the dream of Iran’. In this village, I was told, the cleverest kids are sent to city-schools to be taught; the rest are made to stay, and most become shepherds. Ali was one of them. It was a warm morning. As I was walking, I saw him approaching through the mist that permanently clings to the road. He looked at me and my camera enquiringly. He said very little – mostly one word, over and over: alooche. It means ‘little berry’. (Source: National Portrait Gallery)

Hoda won the 2015 National Photographic Portrait Prize with this compelling image. Congratulations !

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Image: Hoda Afshar, Portrait of Ali, 2014. Courtesy and © the artist