Born 1940, Tehran, Iran
Abbas Kiarostami is internationally acclaimed as Iran's leading photographer and filmmaker. He is also a painter, illustrator and poet. Exhibitions of his work have been held in France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Germany, UK, Russia, China, Japan, US and Canada, and his photographic work is held in international collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Museum of Modern Art in New York, LACMA in Los Angeles, and Centre Pompidou in Paris.
His awards include, First Prize, Fourth Giffoni International Film Festival, Italy, 1974; Prize of International Confederation of Art Cinemas for Where is the Friend's House, Forty-Second Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland, 1989; Prize for Best Director for Close-Up, Fifth Dunkirk International Film Festival, France, 1991; Best Director for Through the Olive Trees, Eighth Singapore International Film Festival, 1995; Palme d'Or for Best Film for A Taste of Cherry, Cannes Film Festival, France; Lifetime Achievement Award, Third Beirut Film Festival, Lebanon, 2000; and Glory to the Filmmaker Award, Venice Film Festival, 2008.
Kiarostami studied painting at Tehran University, after which he started working as a graphic designer. He started taking photographs of Iranian landscapes in the late 1970s—an interest which was intensified at the time of the 1979 revolution, a time that was also a period of personal crisis for him. Kiarostami has said that he regards photography as a purer medium than film, since it is relieved of the burden of narrative or entertainment.
Kiarostami's work, including both film and photography, are characterized by a distinct personal style which combines contemplative, philosophical themes with lyrical translations of neo-realism in modernist terms. His oeuvre includes an extensive collection of images, including roads through rain-flecked windscreens, isolated trees, and vast snow plains. For him, these subjects never fail to spark his interest: 'Two topics have been always inviting for my photography - trees and roads.'