Since the advent of the Islamic Republic in 1979, the private and the public have become two separate worlds. At home you can think, dress and behave as you like, but in the streets patrolled by the religious police self-censorship is the rule. Faced with this dichotomy, the middle class – probably the worst victims of the change of regime – felt itself first discredited, then completely isolated.
It is this duality that Ali Anadjian and Ramyar Manouchehrzadeh want to point up in their mises en scène: under theatre lighting actors play out situations recounted to the photographers by the Iranians who experienced them. The scenes are photographed on film, and the slides then digitised on a drum scanner – the Rolls Royce of scanners – and digitally printed. This is, then, a totally artificial process and as such gives a totally accurate account of the realities of everyday life for Iranians. A paradox, as the title “We live in a paradoxicals ociety” emphasises.
Ali Anadjian (b. 1976) and Ramyar Manouchehrzadeh (b. 1980) studied photography together at the University of Tehran (Iran) and have been working in tandem since they founded their Aco studio in Tehran and Copenhagen (Denmark), where Ali Anadjian now lives. Working on assignments in advertising, architecture and the environment, the pair also focus on their home country and the political and social upheavals it has been undergoing for the last thirty-five years.