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Portrait of Ali, 2014

by Hoda Afshar

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2016 exhibition

Portrait of Ali, 2014

Winner, National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015

Soobatan Village, in northern Iran. It sits in a mountain range so high, it exists above the clouds. They call it ‘the dream of Iran’. In this village, I was told, the cleverest kids are sent to city-schools to be taught; the rest are made to stay, and most become shepherds. Ali was one of them. It was a warm morning. As I was walking, I saw him approaching through the mist that permanently clings to the road. He looked at me and my camera enquiringly. He said very little – mostly one word, over and over: alooche. It means ‘little berry’.

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