Antidote magazine approached turkish photographer Olgaç Bozalp with the opportunity to shoot an entire issue of the magazine around the theme “borders”, which the photographer saw as “the perfect opportunity to go to Iran. Travelling with his best friend and stylist Ruth Higginbotham, Olgaç Bozalp set his sights on the country’s capital Tehran and the city of Kashan in the Isfahan province, undeterred by one glaring problem: “un-Islamic” modelling has been forbidden in Iran since the Islamic Revolution.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hesitate approaching people when I first arrived in Iran, but a couple of days later I found that Iranian people were very friendly and open to being photographed in a fashion story,” Olgaç says to It’s Nice That. “We mostly photographed people in their houses as we were told that it might be too risky to photograph people on the street. We tried to combine fashion with people’s own clothes to make sure we were keeping the people the way they are, because the country has a [complex] history with the west and we wanted to make sure we were not portraying the wrong image.”
“When we were there, Trump made the decision to ban Iranian citizens from entering the US. We felt deeply sad after meeting the people of a wonderful nation.”
Deddeh Howard is a Liberian-born model based in LA, and she’s hoping to raise awareness about the lack of diversity in the modelling industry with her new photo-project called Black Mirror. In it she recreates some of the world’s biggest fashion campaigns by taking the places of major modelling stars such as Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Kate Moss and Gisele Bundchen.
“I would walk into various fashion model agencies and I would immediately be compared to that one or two black model that they had on the roster,” she writes on her website. “Even though I was told by those agencies that I have an amazing look and wish they could represent me, they already have a black model. Besides having an abundance of white models. It seemed as if one or two black models on the roster are enough to represent us all.”
“For this project I decided to re-shoot several of the inspiring and famous campaigns out there and try to show what they could look like with a black model. Why can’t the big brands not embrace our diversity more and give all of us visibility? With this Black Mirror project I hope to show the world that it is time for all of us being seen.”