Archive of Longing: Photo London 2024

Ali Tahayori

16 - 19 May 2024

Somerset House, London UK

‘Archive of Longing’ is a personal search for glimpses of love and belonging within an inherited family archive.

‘In 2018, I inherited a series of family photographs from my mother. Even though I had seen these images as a child, I started seeing them differently. The photographic archive was significant to me personally as it revealed hidden facets of my mother’s life before her marriage, but it was also meaningful collectively as it reflected aspects of Iranian social life before the 1979 revolution. Revisiting these images after thirty years, I started seeing numerous possibilities, affiliations, and connections not included in my mother’s original narrative. I began to tell my story with and through them. In the process, the family photographs are enlarged, cropped, and printed on glass. The printed glass is then broken and reassembled to create sculptural reliefs.

Using glass instead of paper as a foundation to maintain and reveal the visual content references wet plate negatives in the history of photography, where in the 19th century, they were used for sharper, more stable and detailed images. Also, like Daguerreotypes, visibility shifts as the viewer moves around the image. Similar to a broken mirror, the reflective broken glass returns the viewer’s gaze while looking at history and memory from a queer diasporic lens, searching for glimpses of queer intimacy and desire within a violent socio-political context. Photographs are fragments of reality, time, and place. In some ways, these works are fragments of fragments of fragments.’ – Ali Tahayori

Curated for Photo London 2024 by Roya Khadjavi Projects, New York