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Framed
August 30, 2019

Tehran-Based Shahrzad Darafsheh’s Book Is A Window Into Her Fight With Cancer

The third edition of Kitab – a photobook festival showcases photobooks from 27 countries. Shahrzad Darafsheh reveals what was going on in her mind while capturing her journey in the book Half-Light.

When I first attempt to contact Tehran-based Shahrzad Darafsheh via email, her representative tells me that she is unavailable to interact with on account of “being on a journey”. I smile. ‘It has a nice ring to it’, I think to myself. The images that I receive from Darafsheh’s book echo my sentiments. They have a certain optimistic quality to them; one that conveys her belief that she, as an individual, is bigger than her disease. As her book is showcased at Kitab’s third edition — on until tomorrow — we inspect her poignant take on life and the journeys that battling cancer has taken her on, both literally and figuratively.

As someone battling cancer, it’s easy to let the disease take over every aspect of your life. I try to keep my mind off it by indulging in simple activities like watching the sheets catch a draft of the wind. Such ritualistic acts help me maintain my sanity.

The word “hope” took on a whole new meaning for me when I was diagnosed with cancer. Now, it’s a way of life; an emotion that is as important to me.

Embarking on this journey opened my mind to mankind’s fundamental notions of life, death and everything in between. Death is no more a dark place and life is not merely a light beam.

Capturing this series of images has helped me realise the bigger picture.

I wanted to create something new from the pain. And so this project was born. Half-Light can be read both ways, from right to left and vice versa.

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