Portrait of Ali, 2014 by Hoda Afshar

image of Portrait of Ali 2014 by Hoda Afshar

Artist's statement

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’.

Winner, National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015.