The Insights, the Strategy and the Idea
The UNHATE Foundation requested Fabrica to develop an editorial project to spread the foundation’s its message of non discrimination and help overcome current stereotypes on Iran by changing the perception of the Iranian way of living behind closed doors. In accordance with the key role given to youth by the UNHATE Foundation, Fabrica decided to ask 15 young Iranian photographers to bring those private living rooms into a new public sphere. The living room is a place where you can feel free, not subject to the continuous observation or control and judgement by others. It is a private Iran, very different from the image we are used to seeing. While life in the Iranian streets is usually shown through the lenses of the media as foreign and inhibited, behind these closed doors the cameras capture a life that is immediately recognisable in all its richness.
The Implementation of the Project
The 15 photographers’ pictures form the heart of the book, which is built around the concept of 15 small books made into one collective work. Each “book within the book” follows the same structure and is introduced by an Iranian carpet, which is the iconic symbol of everyday domestic life. Like the photographers, and their subject matter, each carpet is unique but they all share the same cultural archetypes that make them Iranian.
The 15 books are complemented by 15 colour breaks, sampled from the content of each photographic story. These distinctive colours are revealed on the spine of the book, suggestive of an eclectic series bound together by a common theme. Only by looking into the book are the carpets and the living room scenes revealed and only through the private gesture of reading do we see inside the lives of these young photographers.
The Concrete Results
Iranian Living Room is available only on Fabrica’s online store. Since its launch in July 2013, about 1,000 copies have been sold. At the beginning of the distribution phase a paradoxical censorship episode occurred. PayPal initially refused to accept orders, and the very reason was the inclusion of the word “Iranian” in the title. This word is part of an alleged set of automatic security filters and alerts and is therefore banned, with no consideration for the book’s content. It took a lot of phone calls, emails and efforts to have this book removed from this so-called “black list”. The media, of course, were interested in sharing this unbelievable story, helping generate further attention for the book.