After taking my German friends to Iran in August of 2014, we came back with so many wonderful impressions and stories, that I felt very compelled to not just keep them to myself, but to share them with a larger audience. As a smartphone photographer, I had plenty of pictures which I wanted to use for an exhibition. So a few months after our return, in October of 2014, the search for a venue began. After many conversations, applications and disappointments, I finally found a gallery and an owner who did not respond with "Smartphone pictures from Iran? You are nuts!"... well, actually, he *did* say that, but he also said that it's great and that we should do it. That one person is Zach, a 86-year old architect who has become one of my best friends here in San Francisco (the guys is laser sharp and such an inspiration!)
So after applying to (and receiving) some artist grants that would allow me to host the exhibition, I went ahead and planned to exhibit 53 of my photographs from Iran throughout the month of March! My parents booked tickets to come and visit and in addition to doing a public opening which drew more than 250 people, I further organized two private events (one for friends and one for the Stanford community) and organized a Persian Dinner Night for a group of expat friends here in SF.
The reason why I hosted this exhibition was simply to raise awareness on how Iran is so much different from what most people think it is. Traveling through Iran is absolutely possible and quite a breathtaking experience. It was very important to me to show my country in a positive light and I'm delighted that 400-500 people were able to come and walk away from the exhibition with a different idea on what Iran is.
What I'm particularly proud of is that this seems to have been the first ever smartphone photo exhibition about Iran!