Cast Out of Heaven by Hashem Shakeri (b. 1988, Tehran)

Since 2010, award-winning Iranian photographer Hashem Shakeri has been creating a striking body of landscape photographs that capture the increasingly dire state of Iran’s environment due to climate change and poor resource management. Cast Out of Heaven is his study of “new towns” built outside of Tehran. The largest post-revolution urban development plan in the country, “new towns” aimed to provide affordable, modern housing but instead became, with few exceptions, a collection of satellite cities with half-finished buildings, bereft of adequate social services and public transport.

Several of Shakeri’s most compelling images were taken in Pardis and Parand, two new towns located about ten to twenty miles outside of Tehran. His process typically evolves over an extended period of engagement with his subject. In this case, he spent nearly a decade visiting and interviewing residents in order to compose his images of life in these austere and unnatural landscapes. Using medium-format analogue cameras and abundant natural light, he not only documents these places but also conveys the sense of desolation and alienation pervading these marginalized communities.

Photograph showing identical white high-rise buildings studding a desert landscape beneath a blue sky.
Cast Out of Heaven
Hashem Shakeri (b. 1988, Tehran)
Digital prints from medium format film
Purchase—Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Endowment for Contemporary Iranian Art
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, S2022.7.1–5