Mehran Hamrahi  |  2013 Commended

Iranian People, Ordinary or Criminals?

Iran is currently one of the youngest countries in the world. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran's population has grown to 76 million people, out of which 70% are the youth under 35. However, in spite of its 7000 year-old history and its rich culture and civilization, the youth are still deprived of basic human rights.

Iran is a theocracy based on Islamic and traditional beliefs, and thus tries to bring up Muslim and traditional youth through publicity and education system. Teaching the sacred and religious instructions begins at the earlier ages in kindergartens and continues till the older ages. However many young Iranian people who are not different from the western youth, do not bear the traditional thoughts.
Except for some percent of the youth who adhere to tradition, the rest are living a trendy and up-to-date life. They would like to have a sweetheart and have free relationship together, be able to go to parties and drink alcoholic beverages without any restriction and fear and enjoy their pastime. The want to live the way they prefer.
Being deprived of basic human rights and social freedom, the youth are mostly desperate. According to the Iranian Psychiatric Association Secretary, between 15 to 20 percent of the Iranian youth suffer from depression. Many of them dream of immigration and living in a free country abroad.
Western people have a negative reputation of Iran in their mind and they believe Iranians are fanatic people with traditional beliefs. The present work aims to depict a portrait of the daily lives of Iranian youth who dream of living "a free life". I am trying to introduce the Iranian youth to the world and narrate their stories and problems through this story.

About the photographer

Mehran Hamrahi

Mehran Hamrahi was born in 1989 in Ahvaz, Iran. He started learning photography in Iranian youth cinema society in 2009 and was elected as the admired photographer of Iranian youth cinema society in 2012. He started working with Iranian students News agency(ISNA) as photojournalism and documentry photographer in 2011 and he covered two major earthquakes that took place in " Azerbayjan " and " Bushehr,Iran" in 2011 and 2012.
he held a solo exhibition in Ahvaz museum of contemporary arts and participated in three other group exhibitions In Tehran House of artists, Milad tower art gallery and tajrish metro station about victims of earthquakes mentioned earlier.
Mehran Hamrahi, his work focuses on documentary photography and photojournalism, he is currently focused on social issues mostly concerning youth and is working on a project called "Iranian people, Ordinary or criminals?"