SOAS University of London

Abbas Kowsari

Abbas Kowsari
12 Photographic Journeys - Iran in the 21st Century

15 October - 12 December 2003

Abbas Kowsari addresses the body-builders. They overwhelm us with their overblown and rocky muscles. They generously show us the physical prowess of their well oiled bodies. And there are the viewers who devour their heroes and demi-gods with their eager eyes, almost with envy. The body builders do not aggress, but seem to caress, seduce and invite the viewer with their theatrical poses, at times skilled and at times gauche. Here, as in other themes presented, the tensions of different modes of existence are presented, whether in a shopping mall, a bus, or on the body builder's stage. Abbas Kowsari has a second theme, the 'flaneuses': photos of young girls in jeans, apparently lazy, girls who walk up and down the streets, come out of a car, mobile in hand, and sometimes lean, aimlessly, against the front of a car. We do not know what they do or what they want. They are, in short, real 'flaneuses'.


Born in 1969, Abbas Kowsari started his career as a journalist in 1994 and worked for a number of Persian language and English newspapers in Tehran. Over the years he has participated in several photo-journalistic exhibitions and won prizes, including the first prize in the 'Association of Iranian Photographer's Competition' in 1997. He has also worked with the AFP and other foreign news agencies.
He captures the less obvious happenings in the world around him, and makes them captivating by his humour.