A walk through Yazd with Marjan Yazdi

a guest photographer bringing a short story on what drives her towards her art


In our ventures through Iran, we had the opportunity to meet Marjan, a talented young photographer, who happened to be around when needed to translate our tea negotiation. We met by accident, but her gear setup (same as my old one) and the type of curiosity she had in the street when we passed by her side earlier that day, immediately told me that her photos are no accident. Our roads crossed again over a cup of tea, and this opened the chance to have her as a guest author on our pages. I hope you like her story and especially her photos, as for those seeking more, visit her homepage marjanyazdi.com to refresh your photography and travel lusts, I highly recommend it;) Enjoy!

I was born in 1987 in Yazd, Iran. I left Yazd and moved to Vancouver, Canada when I was 17 to start a new chapter of my life in a new country.

Having explored a few fields of studies, I eventually discovered that my long time passion, photography, was what I wanted to pursue as a career. I attended the photography program at Langara College and found unique opportunities to work on various projects and to try my hand at different kinds of photography.

After graduation and working as an assistant for a number of reputable photographers in Vancouver, I felt driven and ambitious enough to travel and create new challenges for myself. One of the many project ideas on my agenda has been photographing the city where I grew up, Yazd. I was fortunate enough to start this project over a year ago with an emphasis on portraying social life in the old town of Yazd. City of Yazd with a population of about 500,000 people has a five thousand years old history. People have worked hard during centuries to tame one of the most unfriendly facets of nature, desert. The very attributes of this land, the dry climate and the limited water supplies, made the city what it is today; food, architecture, and customs are just a few of those reflections. Being located in the center of Iran, encompassed by desert, made Yazd a safe place in the time of war. For many years it has been the home to people from various religions who have lived alongside.

My goal was to create an art series that captures a snapshot of nearly extinct lifestyle of people in that region. In this project I used photography to tell a story about the beauty, complexity, and traditions of daily life in this city, a projection of my own passion about the culture, architecture, and human interactions.

As I launched the project, I got to learn more and more about the pure and authentic culture of the past generation. People who carry the rich culture and tradition of the city. People who preserve the traditions and skills of their past generations and strive not to let these invaluable inheritances go extinct.

Bazaar, small allies, women, kids, and the architecture all come in one context which is not possible to show one and hide the other ones. Each of these elements defines the other one and I use them to introduce my style to the audience.

As I wandered through the narrow allies in the old part of the town, I could feel the loneliness and abandonment, along with silence and peace present in the atmosphere. All these senses influenced my vision in this series of work.

All being said, I must acknowledge that I developed the insights helping me throughout my projects during many years of living in a multicultural society, Canada. Canada as a relatively young nation, just does not offer the history, culture and the feelings I seek to share in this work. However, Canada is where I found photography and began my career as a photographer and for that reason is the origin of my inspiration. Winning the first place in Moscow International Photo Award in 2014 in the "people: life style" category was one of the achievements from this project (http://moscowfotoawards.com/winners/zoom.php?eid=10-3286-14)

Planning to make this project in a book and exhibit the works in the countries outside of Iran is one of my goals in this project. Hopefully this project brings me the opportunities to cooperate with the photographers from all around the world with the similar interests for the future projects

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