Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Klavs Christensen: Women of Chah Faleh

Klavs is a Danish photographer who picked up photography as a hobby after graduating from The Royal Academy of Music. He started work as a freelance for various Danish magazines and organizations, and his work is based on social and cultural issues in his local neighborhood of downtown Copenhagen.

A few years ago he decided to do more work on stories of international interest but still with a focus on cultural, social and political issues. These have taken him to Iran, Egypt and Syria. He began working with WpN in January 2007.

I found his photographs of masked women from the village of Chah Faleh in south Iran to be most interesting. Many women in this region of Iran wear different kinds of masks. The tradition of these masks goes further back than the time when Islam came to Iran, but in this part of the country (especially in the villages) the tradition has been adapted as a part of hijab.

The traditional masks are black, some with gold. Within the last 30-40 years, the coloured masks started to show up and today they are subject to fashion. Klavs tells us that most of the women wearing the masks are doing it because of hijab, but some wear them only to protect their skin from the getting tanned by the sun.

Klavs Christensen