How could the sound of a 35mm camera shutter attract the attention of a protestor in a crowd? As if the photographer used a megaphone to say, “One, Two, Three, Cheese…” and some participants gazed out of the atmosphere to stare at the camera. I want to find my suspects like a detective among the revolutionaries of Iran in 1978–1979. The Iranian revolution stands as a paramount milestone in the Middle East over the past five decades, exerting multifaceted ramifications that have reverberated throughout the region. This project highlights individuals who looked out from among the masses at a crucial moment in history and stared into the lens of a camera. The photographer is usually the one who is in control of the image being captured. The photographer chooses the mise-en-scène by choosing their position. The anticipated relationship has been reversed in these photographs, as the photographer was influenced by the crowds and the eyes that turned towards the camera. As if the subject and object had exchanged places. This reversal of roles had a significant impact, as the people themselves took on the task of capturing the image with their gaze rather than the camera turning towards them. Photographing through a magnifying loupe provided an allegory for extracting photographs of the revolution and bringing them to the present moment. The magnifying loupe acted as a bridge that connected me to the revolutionaries. It seems that their gaze has been waiting for my eyes for decades, filtering through a multitude of lenses and eyes before reaching me. They wanted to be recorded in history by a camera, and I tried to honour their desire for immortality.
Amin Yousefi was born in 1996 in Abadan, Iran. He lives and works in London and holds an MA in Documentary Photography from the University of Westminster. He has participated in several international group exhibitions, awards, and prizes. His recent project, “Eyes Dazzle as They Search for the Truth”, was selected as a finalist of the Carte Blanche Awards at Paris Photo in 2022. His work has been published in magazines such as Aperture, Hapax, and Source. Yousefi has also undertaken compelling commission works, including the project “Ruderal Acts, Gardening Beyond the Wall”, showcased as part of the HerMAP Art Project at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Belgium. He was also selected as an Ag Talent for his “Life, Death, and Other Similar Things” project in 2019, exhibited in a solo show at the Ag Galerie. A native of Abadan in the province of Khuzestan, Iran’s most oil-rich region and the scene of bloody war with neighbouring Iraq, Yousefi’s work examines the event of photography, the socio-political aspect of the medium, the violence against protests in the Middle East, and how the act of photography can conceptually mirror the structures of these relationships.