Hossein Farmani’s homecoming sees two photography centres open in Iran

Steve McCurry's Dust Storm, Rajasthan, India (1983)
Courtesy of the artist

The photography collector and entrepreneur Hossein Farmani is returning to his native Iran for the latest step in his quest to promote the medium beyond the Western centres. This month, he will inaugurate a pair of photography centres in the traditional Persian courtyard houses of Kashan in central Iran, in anticipation of a museum he plans to open in the city next April.

Karkhaneh gallery will exhibit large-format photography, while the House of McCurry will house a collection of works by the National Geographic photo-grapher Steve McCurry, a library and exhibitions of other photographers.

The House of Lucie museum will focus on the 120 photographers who have received a Lucie Award, an annual prize that Farmani set up in 2003 with categories for photojournalism, portraiture, fashion, fine art, lifetime achievement and emerging talent. Past winners include Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Bailey and Nan Goldin. Part of the space, currently under reconstruction, will show historical photographs. The collection is drawn from the Lucie Foundation in Los Angeles, where there is another House of Lucie venue.

A rendering of the Kashan gallery, based in a historic Persian house

Farmani says he noticed a small photography community in Kashan during a tour of Iran a few years ago. “I thought a museum dedicated to some of the masters of photography would be a great addition to the city and, more importantly, I wanted to rescue some of the old architectural structures by buying [and renovating] three or four of these old houses.”

Farmani has long been friends with McCurry, best known for his 1985 National Geographic cover portrait Afghan Girl. “Steve has aKa huge fanbase in Iran, so I thought of having a permanent collection of his work and showing his friends on a rotating basis,” Farmani says. “A lot of the major photographers have not been shown in Iran because of the years of sanctions and [the US] travel ban. My goal is to bring international work to Kashan but also to look at the work of local photographers that no one is paying attention to and, hopefully, eventually bring it out of Iran.”

Farmani launched the fashion magazine Vue in Los Angeles in 1985, and has organised photography awards in Paris, Moscow, Budapest and Tokyo, as well as several festivals, including the Month of Photography in Los Angeles.

After relocating to Bangkok in 2012, he ran the Rooftop Gallery, combining photography with music and fashion for three years. He inaugurated the first House of Lucie centre there in 2016 with a show of McCurrys portraiture. A small photography space near Manila in the Philippines followed in 2017.

Steve McCurry's Sharbat Gula, Afghan Girl. Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984.
© Steve McCurry

Farmanis next ambition is to establish a photography museum in Bangkok. “Weve just bought our first plot of land Read More – Source