Iranian photographer wins International Portrait Photographer of the Year for second time

Salvation by overall winner Forough Yavari of Australia.
Salvation by overall winner Forough Yavari of Australia. Copyright Credit: Forough Yavaori / International Portrait Photographer 2023c
By Theo Farrant
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Take a look at Yavari's award-winning imagery which stunningly captures the essence of Black women's beauty.

Iranian-born photographer Forough Yavari has been crowned the overall winner of the International Portrait Photographer of the Year competition. 


Her triumph stems from her breathtaking series titled 'Salvation', a creation inspired by the poetry of Langston Hughes, which she read at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The collection features portraits of Black women, enhanced by Yavari's incorporation of meticulously hand-crafted 24K gold pigment onto the printed images. 

"For this project I'm inspired by Langston Hughes' poems. He was a poet, playwrite and social activist and there are two main elements in his work which I'm inspired by – dance and blues, which refer to freedom and loneliness. So this work is based on those two elements, dance and music, which resonates because I have it in my own heritage as well," Yavari told the National Portrait Gallery. 

This marks the second time Yavari has topped the competition. 

Credit: International Portrait Photographer of the Year
The work of Forough Yavari, winner of the 2023 International Portrait Photographer of the YearCredit: International Portrait Photographer of the Year

Who is Forough Yavari?

Yavari, born in Iran during the tumultuous Iranian Revolution, quickly found a passion for art from a young age. 

She went on to pursue painting in university, where she serendipitously discovered her love for photography while modelling for a photography student.

In 2011, she moved to Australia, where she built her photography business and became established as fine art portrait and fashion photographer, winning several national and international awards along the way. 

Her work is particularly  influenced by her personal experience as a woman from a middle eastern country. 

Yavari's deep-seated concern for women's issues manifested in the creation of two distinct series: 'Revision of Portraits' and 'Eternal Icons.' 

These series were showcased in exhibitions held in both Iran and Australia.

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