Society After Revolution: Kian Nowrouzi
March 25th – November 7th, 2016
Working in the medium of black and white digital photography, Union College senior, Kian Nowrouzi, captures human emotion and a diversity of culture within contemporary, post-revolutionary China and Cuba. His photographs are striking and original, and his use of the black and white medium, as well as classic composition, imparts a timelessness to the frames. Activities and behaviors of divergent social classes, religions, and genders are captured street-level, and despite evidence of residual struggle, Nowrouzi’s portraits reveal a vibrancy and an enormous strength of spirit.
I am a student at Union College studying Economics and Chinese and plan on graduating in 2016. Over the course of the past three years at school I’ve developed a strong interest in Behavioral Economics, which combines my love for understanding the human condition with the study of Economics. In 2014 I spent a term abroad in Shanghai, China, where I decided to teach myself photography using online blogs and documentaries about famous photographers in history. Over the course of three months I dedicated time each day to learning or practicing photography in the Shanghai streets.
My first photograph was taken of a man sitting on a sidewalk. At the moment, I wasn’t sure why I was so drawn to the photo. As I started experimenting more and more with photography, I began to see a pattern – all of my favorite photographs were of people! I did some research to understand what it was that I was experimenting with and came across the practice of “street photography,” the quest to document the human condition. Once again, I was back to trying to understand human behavior, only this time, through photography
The photographs in this exhibition came together after making a month-long trip to Cuba with the college to learn about the history of the country and study it from a social, political and economic point of view.
After completing what I thought would be my second project – Cuba – the first being my China project from 2014, I was able to make connections between both groups of photographs. Both were done in socialist countries, both Cuba and China are going through incredible change – China with the world and Cuba with the United States – and finally, both countries underwent very crucial revolutions, which gave birth to brand new societies with distinct leaders that led them through the struggles and hardships of each revolution.
Society After Revolution is a retrospective about revolutions as told by the people. It is a study of societies many years after their respective revolutions that seeks to understand the reasons for a country’s revolt, the goals for its new society and if those goals have been met (as told by society) in order to ask the question of whether or not the values that were held by the revolutionaries have been maintained as generations have past. I aim to learn from the people and understand their struggles, triumphs and history. My photographs are the by-products of the people’s stories that will hopefully help to convey each country’s story when looked at as a whole.
– Kian Nowrouzi
This exhibition is generously co-sponsored by the International Programs Office.