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Khatereh is 13. She was sexually abused by her uncle, so she decided to run away from home. One week later, a few youths attacked her in a park in Tehran to gang rape her. To save herself, she wounded her arm with a knife. The police officers found her unconscious on the ground. And after treatment, she was transferred to Juvenile Delinquents Correction Centre. She will be released in 2 months and return home. © Sadegh Souri. 1 / 2       Mahsa is 17. She falls in love with a boy and intends to marry him, but her father is against the marriage. One day she has an argument with her father, and she and her mother decide to kill the father. Mahsa kills her father with a kitchen knife, and now her brothers are requesting death penalty or lex talionis for her and her mother. © Sadegh Souri

Waiting Girls

Ten photos. That many were enough for Iranian photographer Sadegh Souri to lift the curtain on a reality as complex as much as controversial and almost unknown to most.
With the reportage entitled Waiting Girls, in fact, the author documents how the current Iranian judicial system regulates the female incarceration in prisons and juvenile correction centres of the country. A concise narrative, well-structured in the form and content, which deeply impressed the jury of World.Report Award | Documenting Humanity 2016, convincing them to attribute to Sadegh Souri a victory in the category Short Story Award and argued for the following reasons:

Mahsa is 17. She falls in love with a boy and intends to marry him, but her father is against the marriage. One day she has an argument with her father, and she and her mother decide to kill the father. Mahsa kills her father with a kitchen knife, and now her brothers are requesting death penalty or lex talionis for her and her mother. © Sadegh Souri
Mahsa is 17. She falls in love with a boy and intends to marry him, but her father is against the marriage. One day she has an argument with her father, and she and her mother decide to kill the father. Mahsa kills her father with a kitchen knife, and now her brothers are requesting death penalty or lex talionis for her and her mother. © Sadegh Souri.

«Waiting Girls represents an extraordinary union of strength of a story with high journalistic value and photographic quality of superior level. The photographer, describing a world of female segregation in Iranian jails, has created documentary evidence of the highest civic value, confronting a very inconvenient theme and entering a context which is difficult to reveal. Nevertheless, he did it with delicacy and respect toward the portrayed subjects, respecting their dignity. Through his photographic style, he gives us moments of intimacy and poetry. The narrative, as presented, is remarkably deep and it gives, without interruption, a sensation of suspension of the lives of the people photographed».

Sowgand is 16. When she was alone at home, the officers entered their house with a search warrant, and found 250 kg of opium and 30 grams of cocaine. The narcotics belonged to her father, but as only Sowgand was at home when the officers arrived, she was arrested, and to protect her father against going to prison, she confessed the narcotics were hers. © Sadegh Souri
Sowgand is 16. When she was alone at home, the officers entered their house with a search warrant, and found 250 kg of opium and 30 grams of cocaine. The narcotics belonged to her father, but as only Sowgand was at home when the officers arrived, she was arrested, and to protect her father against going to prison, she confessed the narcotics were hers. © Sadegh Souri.

The project was carried out over a period of about ten days in the municipal district of Shahr-e-ziba in Tehran, however, it was preceded by a long and difficult preparatory phase, as explained by the same author in the video interview published at the opening and made in conjunction with the guided visit to his exhibition held in Lodi, at Palazzo Barni, on the occasion of the Festival of Ethical Photography 2016. A phase that required from Sadegh Souri great tenacity and as much empathy and sensitivity, revealing the calibre of this young author.
Beyond the difficulties to be able to obtain the permits needed to enter an Iranian women's detention centre, the author has in fact had to face the distrust of the prisoners. Women and girls, often minors, from a difficult past and an uncertain future, extremely reluctant to be photographed and to tell their story. Without their contribution, however, the entire narrative mechanism that underlies Waiting Girls would have fallen through.

Sadegh Souri during the guided tour of his exhibition Waiting Girls, held at Palazzo Barni in Lodi. © FPmag
Sadegh Souri during the guided tour of his exhibition Waiting Girls, held at Palazzo Barni in Lodi. © FPmag.

Sadegh Souri does not limit himself to document the daily life inside the detention centre, but focuses on the individual stories of the girls portrayed in order to bring out all the anguish that pervades their life as a recluse. Indeed, their lives suspended, often indefinitely. Many of them find themselves in fact prisoners of a final judgment that does not arrive others incorporate the effects of a patriarchal system that does not allow them to free themselves without the approval of her father, brothers or husband. Others spend long and pitiful detentions waiting to be transferred elsewhere or, worse, executed.
Thanks to their stories, and the photographer's ability to report them accompanied by extremely effective images in terms of the signification and the construction of sense, it is possible to see, with only ten shots, the contours of a legal system very different from ours. A system, regulated according to the principles of the Islamic Penal Law, which seems to fall heavily against women regardless of what we may perceive as the actual weight of their guilt. Thus making weaker, to our eyes, the boundaries that separate the labels perpetrator and victim, but broadens enormously the result and the meaning of the word guilty. [ Stefania Biamonti ]

- - -
WAITING GIRLS
by Sadegh Souri
Palazzo Barni, corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 17 - Lodi (Italy)
8 – 30 October 2016
admission fee: 12,00 € (for all exhibitions)

Fujifilm Italia.


The video interview with Sadegh Souri and the photo of the guided tour have been realised with equipment provided by Fujifilm Italy.


_ _ _

[ INTERNAL RESOURCES ]
[ FPtag ] Festival of Ethical Photography 2016: the editorial staff point of view
[ exhibitions ] C.A.R., a hell on earth by William Daniels
[ exhibitions ] A Life in Death by Nancy Borowick

[ video ] WRA 2016: data and perspectives: interview with Aldo Mendichi
[ exhibitions ] Snapshots of a utopia by Francesco Comello
[ meltingpot ] Fujifilm Italia and the culture of the image
[ exhibitions ] The Ku Klux Klan by Peter Van Agtmael
[ video ] A project for schools: interview with Laura Covelli
[ video ] The confirmation of an ethics: interview with Alberto Prina
[ events ] Festival of Ethical Photography 2016
[ contest ] World.Report Award 2016: the winners
[ contest ] World.Report Award 2016: finalists
[ contest ] World.Report Award 2016: rules
[ FPtag ] Festival of Ethical Photography 2015: the editorial staff point of view

[ EXTERNAL RESOURCES ]
Festival of Ethical Photography
William Daniels
Fujifilm Italia

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published on 2016-11-10 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS

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editor in chief Sandro Iovine | sandro.iovine@fpmagazine.eu - senior writer Stefania Biamonti | stefania.biamonti@fpmagazine.eu - web developer Salvatore Picciuto | info@myphotoportal.com - linguistic coordination Nicky Alexander - translations Nicky Alexander, Rachele Frosini - contributor Davide Bologna, Mimmo Cacciuni Angelone, Laura Marcolini, Stefano Panzeri, Pio Tarantini, Salvo Veneziano - local Lazio correspondent Dario Coletti local Sardinian correspondent Salvatore Ligios - local Sicilian correspondent Salvo Veneziano - editorial office via Spartaco, 36 20135 Milano MI | redazione@fpmagazine.eu - phone +39 02 49537170 - copyright © 2015 FPmag - FPmag is a pubblication of Machia Press Publishing srl a socio unico, via Cristoforo Gluck, 3 20135 Milano MI - VAT no. 07535000967 C.F. (TAX code) 07535000967 - Copyright © 2015 FPmag - Registered at Tribunale di Milano No. 281 on the 9th September 2014

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