Last Thursday the Wikoff Student Gallery installed a new exhibition featuring the photographs of Kian Nowrouzi ’16. Nowrouzi studies economics and Chinese here at Union.
The human condition and its ties to economics, culminating in the study of behavioral economics, have always fascinated Nowrouzi, who is a self -taught photographer.
In 2014, while on a term abroad in Shanghai, China, Nowrouzi began independently studying the art of photography by analyzing online blogs and documentaries revolving around the works of historically famous photographers. During his time in China, Nowrouzi learned and practiced his photography in the bustling Shanghai streets.
Nowrouzi’s favorite subject to photograph is people, as he loves reflecting the human condition in his work as well as using photography to understand human behavior.
He is fond of “street photography” as it documents the ongoing research of human life while simultaneously capturing and observing the everyday activities of people. The photographs showcased in “Society After Revolution” were taken during Nowrouzi’s terms abroad in China and Cuba. All images are black and white digitals as a way to express timelessness.
Upon finishing his photography project in Cuba, Nowrouzi recognized the photographs strongly connected with the images he had captured during his studies in China.
The exhibition features a variety of images that capture everyday life and activities, including an employee working at a newsstand in China, children playing ball in the Cuban streets, a Chinese man dressed in traditional imperial garb and an image of an elderly Cuban man sitting on a sidewalk.
Nearly all the photographs featured are candid shots that capture the raw vitality and authenticity of Nowrouzi’s subjects and much of Nowrouzi’s work is emphasizing the small and simple behaviors that display the fundamental aspects that make us human.
Nowrouzi predominately shoots objects instead of people, some of his shots include a parked car on the curb of a Cuban street and a photograph of a door left ajar in a neighborhood in Shanghai. Thus these images speak to the diversity in social classes of these socialist countries.
The black and white filters of the photographs add poignancy to the photographs and urge the viewers to focus on the subject, whether it is a human or an object.
Nowrouzi’s photographs document post-revolutionary changes in these socialist countries and how these changes impact the people as well as whether the goals behind these revolutions have been fulfilled, a question, Nowrouzi emphasizes, that shall be told by the countries’ societies.
He hopes his photographs, when studied altogether, will convey both China’s and Cuba’s stories through the eyes of its people from an economic, political, and social perspective.
“Society After Revolution” is open and free to the public and will be on display up until August 7.
The exhibition’s reception and artist discussion will be held on the third floor of the Nott Memorial on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 from 5-6 p.m. You can check out more of Nowrouzi’s work on his website, www.kiannowrouzi.com.