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Photograph - Qajar


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Iran (photographed)

  • Date:

    1998 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ghadirian, Shadi, born 1974 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver bromide print

  • Credit Line:

    Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography at the V&A and the British Museum

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Shadi Ghadirian is a leading Iranian photographer with a rapidly expanding international reputation. Much of Ghadirian's work addresses the theme of Muslim women living in Iran, exploring ideas such as censorship, religion, modernity, and the status of women.

The Qajar series is modelled after studio portraits made in Iran during the Qajar period which spanned the second half of the 19th century to the first two decades of the 20th. Like their predecessors, these formal studio portraits contain props that represent the aspirations of the sitters, but the objects they pose with are jarringly modern, such as in this image, a mirror.

Physical description

A black and white photograph of two veiled women, one standing, holding a rectangular mirror.

Place of Origin

Iran (photographed)


1998 (photographed)


Ghadirian, Shadi, born 1974 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Silver bromide print


Height: 30.2 cm paper, Width: 24 cm paper

Descriptive line

Photograph, from the series 'Qajar', silver bromide print, by Shadi Ghadirian, Iran, 1998

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Light from the Middle East: New Photography

Labels and date

This series is based on a style of photograph made during Iran’s Qajar period (1786–1925). In those portraits, sitters posed with props representing their aspirations. Here, the sitters wear costumes that approximate Qajar fashion, but the objects they pose with are jarringly modern and western – a mountain bike, a stereo or a can of Pepsi. The contrast makes a comment on the tensions between tradition and modernity that women in Iran face today.

(Marta Weiss) [September 2012]


Photographic paper


Bromide process; Photography

Subjects depicted

Mirrors; Women; Studio portraits; Veils




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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