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Finalist in Bowness Photography Prize 2018 with the Portrait of Behrouz Boochani on Manus Island

Behrouz Boochani—Manus Island (2018).

Behrouz is a Kurdish-Iranian journalist, writer and filmmaker. He fled Iran in 2013 seeking asylum, and arrived on the shores of Australia on his thirtieth birthday—four days after the Rudd Government announced its offshore detention plan.

I sent this portrait to Behrouz after I returned from Manus in April 2018, and called him. I said, this is you, Behrouz, with your passion, your fire, and your writer’s hands. It symbolizes your resistance. He heard this, and paused. You are right, he said. But I do not see myself in this picture. I only see a refugee. Someone whose identity has been taken away from him. A bare life, standing there beyond the borders of Australia, waiting and staring. He fell silent, then said… This image scares me.

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