November 24, 2018
Powerful read by Behrouz Boochani on his portrait, discussing photography, representation and power, published in The Saturday Paper.
"the portrait of me by Hoda Afshar stands in opposition to a fixed and static image. It is a critique of the hackneyed impression of a refugee that has become idealised around the world. In this work, the subject is not passive; rather, he is fully aware of the image-making process and active in the production. In fact, he is a co-creator.
Another point worth considering is that it represents a unique and profound form of trust between the photographer and subject. But this trust must not be interpreted in merely ethical terms – it is a trust that the subject has towards the artistic vision and perspective of the photographer. In this image, the camera is not a weapon, it is an instrument that evokes a space where the subject can manifest his identity, personhood and individual personality. This is exactly what has been missing during all these years from representations by superficial forms of journalism. It is also what has been absent from the creations of many artists working on the topic of refugeehood. There are, of course, a small number of people in this field who have produced creative work from a viewpoint that challenges simplistic representations. But I think that what has been created in this work is the emergence of a new language and a fresh point of view regarding refugees, one that foregrounds their humanity."