Above are a series of photographs taken from "Two Faces of Iran", a series by Lithuanian photographer Teodoras Grigaliunas. Teodoras explained the project to us:
Iran has two faces. One is ultra-conservative and strict, forced upon the people by the Islamic sharia law. A modest existence is enforced, and if anyone does not abide the code, they risk severe punishments. It is the face you see in the streets. The other face you have to seek. This face is guided by centuries-old Sufi traditions, where mysticism and love still hold the reigns of life. As it is outlawed, the face of freedom can only be seen in the comfort of homes or remoteness of nature, where no one will see the mask drop.
GPP: Can you describe the importance of the series being black-and-white? What inspired that decision?
Teodoras Grigaliunas: It is a good question. I kept thinking about it, and I decided that a black-and-white picture is not as real as a colored one, because we perceive reality with colors. Therefore an image that is black-and-white seems surreal, strangely familiar, uncanny. In fact, I want to portray the conservative face of Iran in black-and-white, not because it lacks colors, but because it is so different. The lack of colors brings the focus to its form and content. The pictures on the beach, on the other hand, I have decided to leave in color. That is because my experience in the beach was one I am accustomed to. Even though it is not possible to catch reality with a camera, just its mere footprints, color still makes the image look more like the reality we experience.
GPP: What fuels your passion for photography?
Teodoras Grigaliunas: My passion for photography consists of primarily two things: a childish curiosity and a need to create. I surrender to curiosity, and it brings me to strangest places. A hungry desire in me to express myself found a way to create art from the different modes of existence that I meet, through photography. So the fuel for my passion must be experience.
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