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Story of Iranian Woman Photojournalist Aitai Shakibafar

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Ground Report | New Delhi: Photojournalist Aitai Shakibafar; Aitai Shakibafar is a documentary photographer and photojournalist based in Tehran, Iran. She has experience of more than 14 years in this field and holds a bachelor of arts in photography from the University of Arts and Architecture (UAA) and a master’s in graphics art University of Marlik, Nowshahr.

She is attached to many art collectives and teaches photography in colleges as well as judges art exhibitions and shows. Along with that, she is also a published author of books on art.

As a woman photojournalist, covering the various floods and earthquakes affected regions and along with that working on women and children issues are quite challenging. The work that you do inspires many including us. With your permission, we will begin now. This is going to be a discussion rather than a formal interview.

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Photojournalist Aitai Shakibafar

Ground Report: I hope your health is good considering the times we are in now due to the Corona Virus Outbreak. Madam, first and foremost I would like to know how did you find interest in this field and when did you think that you will do this professionally?

Aitai Shakibafar: First of all, thank you and I hope you are in good condition. It was almost 14 years ago, I realized I was very interested in people and living with them. I was able to help a lot of people with my photos. The living conditions of many people changed positively with my photos.

Ground Report: Who inspired you to pick photography as your profession? Why did you choose photojournalism and documentary photography specifically as a career?

Aitai Shakibafar:  Mr. Majid Saeedi, an international photographer, encouraged me. I was able to get IDs for many people with my photos, and when I saw that I could help people’s lives with my photos, I entered the field of international law.

Ground Report: What were the challenges that you had to face during establishing yourself as a photographer?

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Aitai Shakibafar: In Iran, women face many challenges, especially to take photos and publish them. Proving women in Iran is sometimes very difficult. Along with this issue, along with a large number of competitors, how to present your work professionally is difficult and important.

Ground Report: What section of photojournalism do you like to cover the most? What do you look at before choosing And a story or assignment?

Aitai Shakibafar: I am very interested in war photography in news photography, I usually look around well before taking pictures and look for subjects that have a harder life and I start talking to people.

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Ground Report: Madam please tell us about your journey as a documentary photographer. Which assignment or story that you had or have been working upon till now makes you think that this might be your most challenging covered story?

Aitai Shakibafar: During one of my trips, I focused on people who had been chemically treated in the Iran-Iraq war years ago. It has been almost 40 years since the war and many of them had nothing. I photographed them and made their voices heard around the world.

Ground Report: What is the condition of Iran after the Covid – 19 out-break?

Aitai Shakibafar: I have to tell the truth. The situation is very bad. Thousands die every day in Iran and the speed of vaccination is slow.

Ground Report: What are your aspirations as a photographer?

Aitai Shakibafar: My dream as a photographer is to have my photos published in various magazines and news agencies so that I can be the voice of the people.

Ground Report: Madam, What camera do you use and why?

Aitai Shakibafar: I chose the Fuji XT3 camera. Because I think the photo capture process is done with better quality.

Ground Report: You have been working with many educational institutions as an instructor and teacher. Please share your experience in this.

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Aitai Shakibafar: Teaching is an important part of my job. Because by teaching, I can share my travel experiences with my students and make them strong men and women in photography.

Ground Report: Madam, please tell us about your highest achievements as a photographer?

Aitai Shakibafar: In fact, my highest achievement was and is the reform of many people’s lives. But I was also able to present many international awards and many lectures in different countries. I was also able to publish my book on the basics of art.

Ground Report: Now we are at the end of the interview, what would be your message to young aspiring photojournalists like me, and the rest of the educational institutions?  

Aitai Shakibafar: My goal for young photographers is to take responsibility for society and do their best to capture the problems around them. Motivation, competition, and having a goal are the most important things. Finally, thank you for this excellent interview.

Thank you Madam once again for the interview. We were very excited and were looking forward to this. We wish you good health and may you continue your work and inspire us like the way you do and all the very best for your future endeavors.

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