Shadi Ghadirian was born in 1974 in Tehran, Iran. She received a BFA in photography from Azad University, and then began a professional career as a photographer.
Ghadirian is inspired by the duality and contradiction she witnesses in Iran. Her Qajar Series depicts women clothed in nineteenth-century garments, photographed against backdrops typical of studios of that period, but with the inclusion of a modern anomaly, such as a mountain bike, newspaper, or Pepsi Cola can. This juxtaposition symbolizes the difficulties women face in Iran today and, in particular, confusion about the era to which they belong.
Her work has been exhibited worldwide. Apart from her creative practice, Ghadirian is manager of the first Iranian specialized photography site and photo editor for the site Women in Iran.