by Amak Mahmoodian

I am Iranian. I was born in 1980, just after the Iranian Revolution. I learned how to wear my scarf when I was seven years old. I still remember putting it on for the first time, getting ready for my first day at school. It was me, my mother and a mirror. Two years later my Religious teacher stopped me in the corridor for letting my hair show. She told me to cover my hair completely. She said “When you die, Amak, you will go to hell and you will be hanged with your hair strand over a very big fire for all eternity because you didn’t hide it from the eyes of strangers in your lifetime”

Six years ago, I was waiting in a reception room, holding the birth certificates of my mother and me. We looked similar in our ID photographs. That same day my fingerprint was fixed next to my image, and my mother’s fingerprint next to her image. Despite the outward similarity of the images the fingerprints were different; the scar I had on my finger became part of my identity next to my photograph. I decided this meant something, that our identities were entwined with these official identities, with these prints and these papers. In the following three years, I collected similar images and fingerprints from different women in Iran. Each was different from the other, and had a story to tell.

Photographs: Amak Mahmoodian
Editing: Amak Mahmoodian & Alejandro Acin
Design: Alejandro Acin
Text: Amak Mahmoodian & Colin Pantall
Production: Hurtwood Press
120pp 100×136 mm
Edition of 300 copies
50 limited edition and signed prints.
© ICVL Studio / RRB Publishing. May 2016






by Amak Mahmoodian
Co-Published by ICVL Studio + RRB Publishing.  May 2016

Editing: Amak Mahmoodian & Alejandro Acin
Design: Alejandro Acin
Individually embossed, numbered and signed.
The box includes a signed 10×8 print. Archival C-Type Paper covered with a glassine sheet + a book.
Limited edition of 50 prints.
Printing: Full colour Indigo on 118grs Mohawk Superfine Eggshell
Binding: Fully Bind in Winters Novalite
Size: 100 x 136 mm
Extent: 120 pages
Language: English / Persian
ISBN: 978-0-9932323-4-3

Box prices will be subjected to change due to its availability.








by Amak Mahmoodian

First Edition May 2016
Co-Published by ICVL Studio & RRB Publishing.
Printing: Full colour Indigo on 118grs Mohawk Superfine Eggshell
Binding: Fully Hand Bind in Winters Novalite
Editing: Amak Mahmoodian & Alejandro Acin
Design: Alejandro Acin
Every book comes in a handmade slipecase
Size: 100 x 136 mm
Extent: 120 pages
Language: English / Persian
ISBN: 978-0-9932323-4-3

£5 postage for the UK // £7 postage for Europe // £10 postage for international orders


“Shorlisted for the Prix du Livre 2016” at Les Rencontres de la photographie, Arles.

” Shortlisted for The 2016 British Book Design and Production Awards Shortlist”

* PRE-SALE PRICE £25 (Before publication 20th April 2016)

Out of stock





Shenasnameh is the name of the official Iranian Birth Certificate. It comes in a passport-like booklet, complete with a vinyl cover and it contains the basic details and a photograph of the person it identifies. The Shenasnameh is valid for life, but the photograph must be updated according to the standards imposed by the government.

For a woman in Iran, the making of this photograph is a personally charged affair; her hair must be covered in keeping with official standards, and any excess of make-up will be met with official disapproval. The photograph will not be accepted.

Six years ago, I was waiting in a reception room, holding the birth certificates of my mother and myself, my eyes began to flick from the picture of my mother to the picture of myself, and back again.

A sudden realisation came upon me of what these pictures meant, of what they showed, and what they didn’t show. My mother and I, for all our differences, were welded into one being not only by the demands imposed by the conventions of the Shenasnameh portrait session, but also by the dress codes imposed upon women by the Iranian government.

I looked like my mother, and my mother looked like me. But it went beyond that. All of a sudden I realised that all Iranian women were being restricted to look the same, like us; plain faces under hairless scarves.

That same day my fingerprint was fixed next to my image and my mother’s fingerprint was fixed next to her image. But though the faces had become the same, the fingerprints were different.

After that day, I started collecting the Shenasnameh portraits of Iranian women, of family and friends. And with the pictures I collected the fingerprints. And gradually, different stories began to be told and the differences came through; both in the fingerprints but also in faces that, despite the restrictions that are placed around them, still claim individuality and person-hood; by a glint in the eyes, a turn of the mouth, or a raise of the brows. And that is what this book is about: women who are individuals, women who are more than just a fingerprint or a loose strand of hair.


(dummy pictured – subject to minor change)

Printing: Full colour Indigo on 118grs Mohawk Superfine Eggshell

Binding: Fully Bind in Winters Novalite

Size: 100 x 136 mm

Extent: 120 pages

Language: English / Persian

ISBN: 978-0-9932323-4-3

Retail price £40

“Shorlisted – Prix du Livre 2016” at Les Rencontres de la photographie, Arles.

Production of Shenasnameh is funded by pre-orders of a book + a 10×8 inch Limited Edition print. The list of subscribers includes Corinne Noordembos, Yumi Goto…

The Shenasnameh Standard Edition book is now available to pre-order, and will be published on 21st of March.


I have seen many books in my life , Shenasnameh is one of the special ones .
Shenasnameh has sense. The intimate story of the book ,simply and strongly talks about the personal, identical experiences. Shenasnameh makes me to feel more .

Yumi Goto Independent Curator (Japan)

Amak used simple existing visuals in another context to tell a complicated and very strong story. I am so glad that we hear her voice, especially in these days. She uses it in a very effective way. The tactility of the used materials is very effective. It is a very moving story.

Corinne Noordenbos Former Head of photography department of the Royal Academy of Art (KABK)

There are some photobooks where compelling content is let down by mundane design, others where slick design belies weak content. Amak Mahmoodian's Shenasnameh presents a perfect marriage of form and content. It's a modest and intriguing book that you will want to pick up and read straightaway, a book which illuminates rather than preaches, revealing the ties that bind Iranian women in a subtle and moving way.

David Drake Director of Ffotogallery (Wales)


Amak Mahmoodian

Artist / Editor

Amak Mahmoodian is an Iranian artist and curator living and working in the UK.

She was graduated in Photography and Documentary Photography (MA) by Art University of Tehran. In 2015, she finished her PhD on Double Identity, images of women in Iran by the South Wales University.

Using a structure that evokes the classic Middle Eastern collection of oriental stories, her research explores the subtleties of specific codes of conduct that influence a person's behaviour, relationships, sense of self and identity, which I represent through different media such as photography, video and text.

She have been participated in several exhibitions and festivals in Iran and in the UK.

Peta Jacobs


Jacobs has a background in textiles, however, she pushes the boundaries of textile practice, creating art objects and installations that combine a wide range of mixed media, including digital film, light, mirrors and prisms. She also incorporates diverse materials such as salt, wax and silver.

Peta Jacobs is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University for the Creative Arts. Her research, examining the crease between material and immaterial reality, takes a transdisciplinary approach.

ICVL Studio

Editor / Designer / Publisher

ICVL Studio is a not-for-profit creative collective undertaking commissioned photography, multimedia production, curatorial and archiving projects. We work with clients and partners to develop a range of media work.

Coordinated by Alejandro Acin, IC-Visual Lab CIC founder member & director, the aim of the collective is to provide high quality creative media investing a percentage of our income in our community based projects developed in the South West of England.

RRB Publishing


RRB Publishing is the publishing and distribution arm of RRB Photobooks.
Having worked with rare, interesting and out of print photobooks for over 30 years, RRB's Rudi Thoemmes has also worked with many great photographers, and the idea of publishing their work has never been far from his mind.

RRB Publishing publish new and original work by their favourite photographers, and also distribute selected titles that they love.

Hurtwood Press

Printing / Binding / Finishing

Hurtwood makes books. Beautiful, long-lasting, wonderful to hold, books. We work as partners with our clients taking full responsibility for all aspects of production. We take the worry out of making books.

The partners, Jo Hilton and Francis Atterbury, are a team with over thirty years experience of book production and high quality printing. We combine mastery of most print techniques and processes with an artist’s eye for design and layout. Whether digital, letterpress, lithography, gravure, or silk-screen; reproduction from wood engraving, camera or computer; it is our true understanding of process that allows us to deliver exceptional results.


The production of Shenasnameh is funded by the subscribers who pre-order a Limited Edition Print plus the book (only 50 limited edition prints available). The name of all the subscribers will be included in the book and on the website.














ICVL Studio
13 Hillgrove St
Stokes Croft
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// 07949795829 (Alex)//
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