About the Photographer
Iranian, b. 1981
Newsha Tavakolian is an Iranian photojournalist and documentary photographer. Besides working for international newspapers, magazines and NGO’s, she pursues personal projects that focus on social subjects in her hometown of Tehran. In her series Look (2010) Tavakolian delves into the private lives of Iranians. She peers into apartments in her building, presenting tenants who have lived within them for more than ten years. These photographs tell the story of middle class youths attempting to cope with their isolated society and battling with their lack of hope for the future. Over a period of six months, always at 8 pm, Tavakolian fixed her camera on a tripod in front of a window and tried to capture a moment that illustrated its occupant’s story. Her subjects are caught within the frame of a window, and their images echo the cold, nondescript buildings seen in the distance.
At the age of 16, Newsha Tavakolian left school and took a six-month photography course in Tehran. Subsequently she began working professionally for the Iranian women’s newspaper Zan. At the age of 18, she was the youngest photographer to cover the Iranian student protest of July 1999. In 2000 she joined the New York-based agency Polaris Images and two years later she started to work internationally, covering regional conflicts and social situations in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Yemen. Her photographs have been published in international magazines and newspapers such as Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, New York Times Magazine and National Geographic. Tavakolian became a nominee of Magnum Photos in 2015. Her work has been exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum and British Museum in London, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Boston Museum of Fine Art, among others.