“Accidental Traveller” in Nicholson Gallery

May 17, 2022

Artist Bio

I am a freelance photographer, born & raised in Iran, with extended time
throughout my formative years spent in Spain, Pakistan, & Nigeria. I have resided
in the United States for the majority of my adult life. A few years ago, in 2017, I
went back to my motherland to reconnect with my roots & explore the timeless
traditions & trades of different regions in the country. My series of exhibitions
upon my return stateside served as a visual tapestry of the millennia-old
architectural wonders of Iran.

In 2020, at the peak of the pandemic, I traveled once more to the Middle East. As
a contrast to the photographs of mosques, palaces, tombs & other historic sites in
my earlier exhibitions, this next wave of journeys focused on the people whose
daily lives were encompassed by those spaces. I captured images of the saffron
harvest in Seh Gonbad, traditional Caspian fishing methods in Siyahrud, & silk
fabric weaving in Kashan.

Through my photography, I seek to share with the viewer the many layers that
comprise this ancient civilization, where despite the influx of modernization,
certain ways of life continue as they have for centuries, if not longer. In my path
as a visual artist, I am attempting to inform my audience of a sense of place in
far-flung locales which they may otherwise not have the opportunity to

Exhibition Statement

My current exhibition took form over the course of explorations of various Persian
Gulf islands & coasts, from August through December of 2021. I had yet again
returned to Iran during this seemingly endless pandemic, intending on trekking
around the provinces of East & West Azerbaijan, in the northwest reaches of the
country. When travel restrictions forced me to cancel, fate & chance
recommendations landed me in the opposite direction, on the subtropical
southern fringes of my motherland.

Boasting some of the most colorful landscape & locals I have ever encountered,
Hormozgan Province borders the gulf where it meets the Strait of Hormuz, the
preeminent strategic chokepoint on Earth. I believe these voyages yielded some
of the most kaleidoscopic & engaging photos I have had the privilege to shoot,
capturing some of the lesser known parts of the Middle East.

Traveling to distant places & exploring ways of life different than our own informs
our worldview. Even prior to the pandemic, there was a sense of fragmentation in
our common fabric. The Coronavirus disease & necessary self-isolation seemed to
magnify some of our existing societal ills. Xenophobic & ethnocentrist rhetoric,
while not billed as such, filled a great share of the media. As our society opens
back up, there is no better time to embrace our differences & similarities than

The guiding philosophy & the impetus for this exhibition is twofold. First, through
sharing photographs & stories from a misunderstood side of our planet I hope to
dispel preconceived ideas of life seldom shared with a western audience. Second,
I want to insert the viewer into a world poles apart, & allow them to draw
comparisons with their own quotidian routines.
We all seek familiarity, & I use the medium of photographic storytelling to deliver

Sia Yazdanfar
+1 702 706 3845