TEHRAN – The role of photography in shaping our perception of the world is undeniable, and one particular domain where it has wielded immense influence is in the documentation of conflicts and wars.
Images possess an immense ability to effectively convey the emotions, experiences, and harsh realities of war, ultimately enabling us to truly grasp the profound human toll these conflicts exact. War photographers play a crucial role in this process, as they endanger themselves to vividly seize such images.
Bahram Mohammadifard, the esteemed Iranian photographer, has a fascinating background, capturing compelling images during the Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988), which is called Sacred Defense in the Islamic Republic. Despite his notable contributions, he humbly clarifies that he does not define himself as a war photographer.
In an interview with Tehran Times on Monday, Mohammadifard, who has bravely worked in some of the most perilous conflict zones of our time, expressed that his foremost concern was preserving the rich history of the country through his captivating photographs.
“The paramount quality of a war photographer lies in their ability to safeguard the historical significance of the time period they are documenting.”
“In order to be an effective war photographer, it is crucial to have access to a wide-reaching media platform and a professional team and infrastructure, which regrettably, this has been lacking in both past and present times in Iran,” he added.
Mohammadifard’s passion for photography was ignited at a young age of 16, as he came from a family with a strong artistic background. During the Islamic Revolution, he started taking pictures for himself and after the victory of the revolution, he joined the newspaper Jomhouri Islami and worked as a press photographer for them, where most of his work was related to the Iraq-Iran war.
“ I greatly admired the Iranian soldiers and volunteers who bravely ventured into the battlefield, and the main driving force behind my artistic endeavors was to authentically capture their essence and unwavering spirit in my portraits.”
“I was completely captivated by the war volunteers, and before I knew it, these brave soldiers became my ultimate heroes’” he noted.
“I was driven to join the war by a profound sense of unity with the extraordinary men who have left an indelible mark on the history of this land,” he mentioned.
“We were actively involved in a peculiar and surreal international campaign against Iran, growing and maturing side by side and I believe that generation, shaped by war, is a truly unparalleled one,” he stated.
Paying meticulous attention to history is crucial in war photography and a war photographer must skillfully capture the essence and historical context of the era they find themselves in, he said and added: “Keeping the authenticity of history and the era intact is undeniably one of the important factors for any war photographer.”
The most crucial aspect, above all else, is for a war photographer to stay alive in order to carry out their duties in a war-torn region, he highlighted.
Nowadays, the cultural significance of the war photographer’s role has dwindled, and countless colleagues find themselves in dire financial straits, he explained.
He strongly advocates that officials should prioritize the recognition of the immense value embedded in war photography, and furthermore, take concrete steps towards granting them the academic and historical recognition they deserve.
“War photographers should have a stronger academic and historical influence in order to effectively preserve and pass down their experiences to future generations.”
He emphasized that the present younger generation is not as diligent as their predecessors due to the digital era, and it appears that the younger generation lacks resilience.
“However, I firmly hold the belief that, just as our generation dedicated itself to defending our land, the youth of today are not oblivious, and I have full confidence that they will discover their genuine heroes.”
“After a long period of quiet, I finally decided to share my photographs accompanied by concise yet impactful texts on digital platforms and the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” he noted.
“Among all of my works, my favorite is undoubtedly my collection of portrait photographs, as these close-up images capture the essence of heroic individuals and transport me back to the turbulent days of war, immersing me in the entire atmosphere that surrounds them.”
The remarkable war photographs of the artist have recently made their debut in a book published by the Sacred Defense and Revolution Photographers Association.
He aspires for this publication to set a precedent for all war photographers to have their books published in various textual and pictorial formats while they are still alive, ensuring that the authenticity of their images endures.
Photo: Photos of Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), taken by Bahram Mohammadifard
Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/488493/Through-the-lens-of-a-war-photographer-capturing-the-history