FotoFirst — Discover Shahrzad Darafsheh’s Book of Photos She’s Been Taking While Fighting Cancer
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Half-Light is a photobook by Iranian photographer Shahrzad Darafsheh published by Gnomic Book (you can pre-order your copy through the book’s Kickstarter campaign). As Shahrzad herself puts it, she uses photography to “see the world as it appears, dealing with its complexities and experiencing our never-ending evolution. Therefore what fascinates me the most is the nature of things, and how everything relates to each other.”
Four years ago, Shahrzad was diagnosed with endometriosis, a painful disorder of the reproductive system which last year led to cancer and a radical hysterectomy followed with a course of chemotherapy. “Dealing with pain itself—along with the feeling of growth of something inside my body which was not a child, nor it could ever be—was a life-changing experience. It all helped me see things more accurately, which finally led to acceptance. I think I’m fortunate to have this and I can feel it everywhere around me, especially in my photographs.” Her pictures, Shahrzad continues, are about “compatibility and sustainability in general, two things that we as humans and our world need to survive. As an artist, I try to play my role.”
The video made by Shahrzad in collaboration with Gnomic Book for the book’s Kickstarter campaign
Photography has been helping Shahrzad through her fight against cancer: “It is my savior. I decided to choose my sickness to be a subject for a new project. Every working progress of my health is also a progress in my work, no matter how good or bad it is. More importantly, it helps me keeping distance of my own body while engaging deeply with it. It may sounds confusing, hope nobody has to experience it.”
The images included in the Half-Light book are a selection of pictures Shahrzad has shot in the past years, and they are sequenced so as to produce a different result when read from right to left—as they do in the Islamic world—rather than from left to right. “It’s a bilingual book with two different lines of storytelling, both searching for truth. I should thank Gnomic Book for this, working on the book really helped me through tough days of chemo.” Half-Light was chosen as a title “because everything lays under the shadow of uncertainty until a ray light start shining, and because always in half-light I pick up my camera and start taking photographs.”
Shahrzad hopes this book will “give me a bigger voice to bring more awareness to women’s health, especially in my country where there isn’t much. Most women accept having constant pain, unusual menstruations without speaking of it. I think it needs to change. We should talk, engage and learn more about our bodies.”
Shahrzad’s #threewordsforphotography are:
Reveal. Existence. Forever.