THE MAN WHO WAS NOT THERE: A photographic interpretation of recent traumatic events in Iran.

On 16 September 2022, a 22-year-old Iranian woman was arrested by religious morality police while in the custody of the police and died under mysterious circumstances in a Tehran hospital. Her death sparked protests against the Iranian government throughout the country and had a wide impact on social media and the news.

The Man Who Wasn’t There is a personal interpretation of recent political and social events in Iran while being far away from home in Australia. This project illustrates four narratives selected from posts and reports on social media, including a unique core rooted in a real event. However, due to the unprecedented number of diverse narratives and personal interpretations, especially on social media, this core becomes buried beneath layers of chaos, confusion, and individual perspectives. This project reflects my confinement and the need to reinterpret the events in a personal manner in order to find a possible way to comprehend the situation.

Through staged photography, computer-generated images, and digital composition, I create a surrealistic and hyper-realistic visual realm that is enriched with Persian symbolism and iconography. This synthesis forms an imaginary, surrealistic world where the possible and impossible can coincide.

instagram: @dailygrapher

Hootan Haghshenas, ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’, 2023, installation view from GRADUATE EXHIBITION Photography Fine Art Honours MFA & Art in Public Space 6-10 Dec 2023. Photo by Leni Ciuro.
, ,
Hootan Haghshenas