Meet our contributor, Iranian photographer Maryam Majd. Promoting inclusivity unconditionally and giving a voice to those rarely heard, her photography speaks volumes.

Exposing the silent voices and promoting inclusivity is our Iranian photographer, Maryam Majd. Providing a platform for women and minority communities, her photographs tell their stories better than any words could. Recently a finalist in Photography 4 Humanity’s, Global Prize competition and advocate for both photography and equality we get to know the female photographer pathing the way for generations behind her and hear about some of the obstacles, pivotal moments and historical events that lead her work to where it is today. 

 

Meet this weeks Contributor:

Let’s kick off, how did you get started in photography and why?

I studied in cinema school and got acquainted with the analogue camera as a child so my initial knowledge of photography was of negative film. Later in school, I started learning photography and the emergence of the negative, printing photos myself in the darkroom. 

My career in photography took shape at university on a photography course. Because of my financial constraints, I photographed documentary, news, and sports documentaries with the same analog camera. The difficulty and cost of printing negatives on the one hand and the limitations I had on the other, made me try harder to take good photos so as not to waste a single frame of negatives.

 

Why I chose photography is a difficult question. Because it comes completely from inside me. The image was always stronger for me than the text. I analyzed them for myself and sometimes wrote about the events that took place in the photo. The stories in each photo will not be what we read? I believe that we tell a story from every photo we see, so this is the mystery of the world of photography. It records what it sees and fixes what is happening.

IMAGO / Maryam Majd
Photo: IMAGO / Maryam Majd

What was your first experience with a camera?

My first experience with the camera back to when I was 7 years old. At the time, my mother had a Kodak single-lens reflex camera, because the Iran-Iraq war had just ended and the Iranian revolution had taken place years earlier.

Photography negatives film did not enter Iran, and my mother did not have a negative film for the camera, that camera was like an object I was curious about. There were many families at that time who did not have cameras. 

One day I sneaked the camera to school and started taking pictures of my classmates. In fact, it was not a negative film inside that resulted in a positive. My classmates asked me for their photos the next day and I did not know what to do. This was the first time I had encountered a camera and felt that I had a responsibility to those in front of the lens. 

I have been grown with my camera. It probably is seen as only a lens but when you create something big which can be seen by the world, you are sure that you are doing the right thing.

What five words describe your photographic style or captured message?

Expose the silenced voices. Tell the story, tell the truth. Fight for the presence of women and equality. Create an opportunity from every limitation. Be a historical narrative for the next generation

“I just know one thing about my photos, they are challenging gender equality."

MARYAM MAJD

What is the best element about being a photographer, and most challenging?

I always try to make the photos of that scene a significant subject to make the audience think.

Do not get away from them easily, but stand and look at them so you can find the story of the photo without reading the text.

The challenge is that the power of images can bring global violence to peace. This is what we see in the world of social media. We can see that ordinary users quickly publish hot news with videos and photos. But I just know one thing about my photos, they are challenging gender equality.

To you, what is the role photography has in the world?

I believe that the role of photography has many things to show the world and humans.

Perhaps the simplest and most important thing that can inspire people is to make them aware of their responsibilities to each other and we know photographs are part of our legacy that will be passed down from generation to generation.

For me it is a common language and lets me share and communicate. I believe I have this important mission. Not only for Iranian women but also for all the silent voices around the world. Commitment to voicing the silenced can certainly open many doors, but it is also important that when a door is opened, we go through it to be more open, and more people pass before it closes too soon.

IMAGO / Maryam Majd
Photo: IMAGO / Maryam Majd

What one important lesson has your work taught you?

Photography has the power to tell a variety of topics in the world. Be inspiring and have a positive impact on the world.

In my opinion, I am a warrior. But this fighting and insistence on achieving my desires did not make me feel irresponsible for my subjects. Photography as a way of salvation has changed my world, so I want my photos to change someone’s life. The main lessons are persevere, keep going and don’t get tired until you get what you want.

What is currently really getting you frustrated or annoyed?

In fact, I worried about the situation in my country. The state of sanctions against Iran, the economic pressure that exists, and, most importantly, the global coronavirus epidemic, which has affected everything and taken many victims.

The work crisis, the lack of assignments and events that can be photographed have completely overshadowed my working life as a freelance photographer.

I have always thought about the future and heard ups and downs from Iran’s past. My decades of life were different from the girls of other lands. We hardly got our dreams. Of course, I am glad that I have gained important experiences in life, which may have been too early for a girl my age. I have had the chance to grow up in a family where I can be understood. So I have come to believe that this period will pass and I hope this disappointment will be short-lived.

If you could photograph any historical event, what would it be and why?

One of the things I think about a lot is photographing an important football match on Mars for the first time. The cause: Find something beyond what is happening on Earth.

What does success look like to you?

Success has its own definition for everyone.

For me, ‌success means achieving the dream I wanted.

I write my dreams on a piece of paper and stick it on the table, reminding myself every day what plans to make to get it.

Success means being happy with what I have and feeling victorious about what I have achieved.

I have to point out that I am still a long way from my original success, so I have to work harder to make it happen.

Visit our IMAGO site for the full collection from Maryam Majd or contact us for more information.

Related Articles

IMAGO / Jochen Eckel
Meet the Contributor

Meet the Contributor: Jochen Eckel.

Meet our contributor, Jochen Eckel. Documenting people and their stories, the Berlin-based photographer, and IMAGO partner, describes his work as “real, authentic, focused, close, creative.”

IMAGO / Harry Koerber
Meet the Contributor

Meet the Contributor: Harry Koerber.

Meet our contributor, Harry Koerber. With an artistic eye for precision and honesty, Koerber’s photography is simply authentic, clean and visually striking with linear elements and primary colour.