S. on the abandoned movie set and the last rays of sun.

Loulou d’Aki

Down by the Water

[ EPF 2017 – SHORT LIST ]
The first times I went to Iran I did so to work on a personal project about Iranian youth and their aspirations as a part of a larger project I was working on across the Middle East. My subjects and I spent a lot of time together during the portrait sessions and at some point they would all ask me what I had seen of the country so far. All of them seemed to agree that I really had to go down to the Persian Gulf and visit the islands Hormuz, Qeshm, and Kish where life seemed to be relatively free in comparison to Tehran and where many young people from the mainland would try to spend some time every year. 
Iran sits on one side of the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf to the Arabian sea. It’s considered the world’s most important throughway for oil – 30% of the world’s seaborne traded oil goes through the strait but despite of its natural riches, the inhabitants along the Persian Gulf are amongst the poorest in the country. 5 kilometres off the mainland, southeast of the port city Bandar Abbas, lies Hormuz, once upon a time the main port in the strait, visited by Marco Polo who praised the island where tens of thousands had settled. For centuries, the countries on both sides of the Gulf were in good relations and people travelled the region without passports. Today the population is below 10,000 and unemployment is high ever since relations with Oman soured during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency. Before, locals would go to Oman in the morning and return at night with smuggled goods to sell in the mainland city of Bandar Abbas.
The island Qeshm, 60 kilometres away, is a free trade zone where paperless Pakistani ship builders keep up the tradition of wooden ship construction, side by side with traditional islanders and where youngsters from the mainland travel to feel a bit more free, away from the watching eye of the Islamic republic on the mainland.

Short Bio

Loulou d’Aki is a photographer, member of Agence VU’. She was born and raised on the Swedish seaside and graduated with a Master in photography at ISFCI in Rome, Italy. Since then she has lived and worked across Europe, North America, Japan and the Middle East.

As a photographer she is interested in how human beings are affected by the society in which they live, the influence of borders and the idea of freedom.

Alongside commissioned work Lou focuses on various long term projects, such as Make a Wish, a photo essay looking at how the hopes and dreams of youth in conflict zones are conditioned by society. The project recently won Cortona on the Move dummy award and will be published as a book in 2018. Lou is a Swedish Arts council grantee for a project called Mother of choice, which she is currently working on, a documentary work about self chosen single motherhood in Sweden.

Lou was a singer before she became a photographer. She speaks five languages and lives in Athens.


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