TEHRAN – On August 19, World Photography Day is being celebrated around the globe, commemorating the contribution of the medium to art, communication, and culture.
Photography has been a medium of expression for decades, creating powerful images that have helped shape our understanding of history and the world around us. This special day highlights the role that photographers play in our society, capturing the beauty of our world and changing perceptions through their powerful images.
Iranian history has been closely intertwined with photography, with the first photographic images appearing in the country in the mid-19th century.
The first daguerreotype cameras were brought into Iran by request of Mohammad Shah Qajar (r.1834-1848) from Russia and England. Russian cameras, which were a gift from the emperor, arrived first and were brought to Tehran by young Russian diplomat, Nikolay Pavlov, who had previously learned photography for this purpose.
According to the notes of Jules Richard, the first photography in Iran was carried out by mid-December 1842. Iranian Prince Malek Qassem Mirza and Frenchman Jules Richard are among the pioneers who also did photography in Iran via daguerreotype.
Apart from one photo, none of the Iranian daguerreotypes have survived, but some of them, including portraits of Mohammad Shah and Crown Prince Naser al-Din Shah, have been handed over to Kamal-al-Molk, who used them to create painted portraits.
In the early 20th century, with the arrival of modern technology and access to cameras, Iranian photographers began documenting the daily lives of their compatriots in greater detail. Photography, which was before in the serve of the kings and elites, became an essential tool for documenting glimpses of history and culture.
With the socio-political conditions of the nation, photography has played a significant role in expressing the country’s social and political facets of Iranian society. Iranian photographers have captured, documented, and presented moments of hope, terror, joy, and grief through their images, conveying the history and culture of the country in a tangible and powerful way.
Today, Iranian photography has gone beyond conventional boundaries, pushing towards a more experimental and contemporary approach. With access to digital and modern technologies, Iranian photography has developed into an innovative, playful industry that blurs the lines between art and photography. From stunning wildlife and nature photography to thought-provoking photojournalism, Iranian photographers are continuously exploring new possibilities and redefining the boundaries of the medium.
Here are some historical photos that could shed light on the captivating history of the country. Even though the photographers responsible for these moments may often remain anonymous and their images may have been captured in a casual and amateurish manner, the emotions conveyed in these photographs have surpassed the boundaries of time and profoundly touched the viewers.
* This old and low-quality photo is the only surviving daguerreotype image in Iran depicting Malek Qassem Mirza, one of Iran’s photography pioneers.
* This historic image is widely considered to be one of the very first selfie photos ever taken. It features Naser al-Din Shah (r.1848-1896) and his wives captured in a mirror of Andaruni (harem). The king had an immense love for photography and was a skilled photographer himself. During his numerous trips to Europe, he acquired the latest cameras and even appointed at least two official court photographers.
* This iconic image features the ‘Big Three’ – Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill – at the Tehran Conference, which took place from November 28 to December 1, 1943. The conference was held at the Soviet Union’s embassy in Tehran following the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran. This conference marked the first of the World War II conferences held by the ‘Big Three’ Allied leaders – the Soviet Union, United States, and United Kingdom.
* This rare photograph captures Mohammad Mosaddegh (1882-1967), a prominent political figure in modern Iranian history, who served as Prime Minister until his overthrow in the joint U.S.-British coup known as the 28 Mordad coup on August 19, 1953. The photo was taken around 1965 in Ahmadabad, Iran.
* This photo captures the fury and passion of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, as Iranians pull down the statue of Mohammad Reza Shah. The revolution, which began in the winter of 1979, was a significant turning point in Iranian history and ultimately led to the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
* Imam Khomeini delivering a powerful speech at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in Tehran, just ten days before the triumph of the Islamic Revolution on February 1, 1979. After spending over 14 years in exile, Imam Khomeini’s return to Iran marked a turning point in the country’s history and paved the way for the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
* This iconic photo, captured by Abdol-Hossein Partovi on February 7, 1979, depicts a powerful moment in Iran’s history. This is the moment when the Homafaran, officers in the Shah’s Iranian Air Force, pledged their allegiance to Imam Khomeini upon his return from exile in France. In the photo, Imam Khomeini can be seen in the distance, while the Homafaran salute him. The image was published on the front page of Kayhan daily on February 8, just before the Iranian Revolution toppled the Shah’s government. To avoid detection, the photo was taken from behind, increasing its historical value as the only known image of this pivotal moment.
* This photo immortalizes the bravery and resilience of Iranian soldiers amidst the Iran-Iraq war. Celebrating the liberation of Khorramshahr on May 24, 1982, the soldiers gather in front of the symbolic and iconic Jameh Mosque – a building that partially withstood the war’s destruction. In this moment, the soldiers’ victorious spirits shine through as a powerful testament to their enduring commitment to their country and its people.
* The photo shows the emotional moment when Iranian prisoners of war were finally released by the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 1990, two years after the end of the Iran-Iraq War. The release of these prisoners marked a major milestone in the enforcement of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 598, which aimed to bring an end to the brutal war imposed on Iran by Iraq.
* This powerful photograph captures the immense crowds that gathered to pay their respects during the funeral procession of top Iranian military commander Lieutenant-General Qassem Soleimani, who was martyred during a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad on January 3, 2020. As the commander of the Quds Force, Soleimani was known for his bravery, strategic genius, and unwavering commitment to the Iranian people. His death marked a significant loss for Iran.
Photo: Qajar-era (1789-1925) photographer Abdollah Mirza in an undated photo.
Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/488044/World-Photography-Day-10-iconic-photos-that-captured-the-essence