4 de Octubre, 2007
One More Moment Before We Bomb—
LET'S TAKE A WALK THROUGH IRAN.
Here are images, I wanted to lay them out. As glimpses. Isolated glimpses into another country, one that mostly exists for us in scary soundbytes and media-approved shots of hangings and flame and the dark dark chador and the obscuring burqa. We pump the hot gas of our fear and media worship into those shadowy shapes, because after all, all of us here in the USA are experts at marketing and advertising and image. We take joy in our trade. This is our most intensive area of training.
We are mid-commercial right now. Halfway through the award-winning "Bomb Iran" messaging blitz. I give you a few outtakes that might not make it into the glossy front page spread.
The tricky part about laying out images in a sequence is that, depending on the order, a story wants to connect the previously separate moment. The Glimpse becomes a Thought, and then a Tale. But I did not want to force some clunky narrative...which my hands seemed to want to do no matter how I moved around the pictures. So I ended up initially grouping them by color to solve my problem. That gave me a basic blueprint that I could follow without fear of setting up something too contrived. Let the colors lead the way, let the pigment and the paint and the hue have its say.
Update: Sun, October 7. I have edited some fotos, traded one or two out, due to new information.
This shot is of a woman looking into Khomeini's tomb.
Amazingly, Iranians have nature, too. They don't eat only brains and sleep in cemetary-mosques.
A wondrous work of art, this rivals the most beautiful churches I've seen in the USA. I don't go in too much for religion. But I do appreciate the art that moves the hands of humans when they feel inspired. I feel much the same way as I have standing in some vast, ornate churches in New York. There are a few beauties.
Just look at the intricacy and art that has gone into the design and lighting design of this building. Simply beautiful.
This is a mosque in Naqse-Jahan Square in Isfahan.
A wedding in Iran. A Kurdish-Persian wedding.
(This shot doesnt come in so much on its chromatic value. But more of what is called a "graphic match" when making an editing cut. Interestingly, the bodies sort of line up. Standing vertical figures, the spacing...a happy gathering, though in daylight.)
These are Kurdish Iranians in Najar, Iran. Kurdistan. They are some of the oldest Iranians in the region, descended from the Medes. The Kurds are Sunni Muslims, who often are engaged in some type of fight with their government to retain their culture and some degree of political autonomy.
I love the mother in the doorway with her child. The child has that typical "wary of a strange camera" look in her eye. But the mother feels kind and warm, what with her happy expression, flowing and comfortable garb, and direct gaze.
Bolhassan, Iran. This is one of the prettiest shots I found. I love this image. The deep blue sky, the cluster of homes that do not seem ruled by a grid, but rather naturally occurring as groups of people settled near one another. The warm windows, telling of humans living and perhaps reading, or talking to one another as the night settles down over them all. I think of fireflies.
Bolhassan is another Kurdish town, only five miles from Iraq, in Kordestan, Iran. This village of people was chemically bombed by Saddam Hussein in the Iraq-Iran war in 1987 and 1988. To this day, almost the entire population suffers from the toxic aftereffects in the form of skin diseases, cancer, genetic "malformations," and crippled births.
When not relying on other Reasons, the U.S. media and government will trumpet the bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq as a justified means of deposing the evil that Saddam Hussein was. We didn't need chemical weapons to do that. Not until it was decided that an entire city needed to be hit hard.
Will we speak of the effects of using nuclear weapons on Iran? Before? Or after? How much do we really care?
Just a cooling tower on a museum roof in Kashan, Iran.
I love, again, the deep blue sky behind the sand-colored and artistic structure. I think of the adobe buildings I saw often in my youth, and for a time lived in. Homes in the southwest. Arizona? California? I cannot remember. But I always see sun and sand and big blue sky in my mind.
Naqse-JahanSquare, as pointed out by commenter Kian. From here, where he has many fotos that show Esfahan, Iran.
The Azadi Tower. Translated, it becomes "The Freedom Tower," which makes me smile, and think of George W. Bush. Would he appreciate the name? Isn't that what he wanted to name that some Museum of Dubya Doctrine Justification in NYC? "The Freedom Tower." Freedom there, freedom here. Freedom everywhere these days.
It is rather inspiring, though, I have to admit. I want to run at it full speed and see how far up the sides I can fly, wave my arms shouting as I move through its center. I wonder if I'd be allowed. I know even in New York, you have to be careful these days about what liberties you take with your body and voice. "If You See Something, Say Something" and all that.
Wow. This is really something. Again, I do think of the adobe houses, but more of a castle. An adobe castle. This is the city of Bam, Iran. One of those structures that always impresses me with the passion and ingenuity and ability of human beings.
*Sadly, a commenter informs me that the same year this was taken, an earthquake destroyed the city, taking 40,000 lives. Now that is a vast and tragic number.
September 8 is International Literature Day in Iran. So...even in Iran, Childrens Do Learn.
And some also look stylish.
A major highway in Iran. This photograph was on display in NYC as part of a foto essay called "Inconvenient Evidence."
The eye of media is always open. The mouth of media is always talking. What is it seeing? What is it saying?
Is Adults learning?
More Iranian schoolchildren.
Somebody looks bored. I seem to remember myself in similar shots.
*a commenter informs me this is, in their opinion, California, and not Iran. They point out the poster on the fence. And I suddenly notice the foliage.
This, however is Iran. In this shot, children play outside Ali Qapu Palace, in Esfahan.
American basketball player Garf Joseph practicing at the Azadi Stadium with his team, Saba Battery, in 2005. (Again, that would make this the "Freedom Stadium." So, it looks like Iran has scads of Freedom to me.)
From what I've learned, there are many teams in Iran with American players! Go figure. And here I thought it was a forbidden land or something. It makes you wonder: How many good games am I missing???
A woman holds a Terroristic message on a sign. Protests in Iran against the US-led bombing of Afghanistan. They seemed to think that mostly civilians were suffering and dying. Of course you and I know this was our really great war, the good one.
Sheep yearn for freedom behind the iron curtain of Islamofascist Iran.
Here, the photos veer away from the multi-hued, brown/black/blue tones of people-populated photos and into the "golden/red" group.
The Grand Bazaar. You can almost hear the ambient sound all around you, smell the smells...
Love this shot. I can't help but think of Mexicanas, of my own abuelita. The market, women grinding corn, mujeres slapping tortillas.
Here, women in Arsanjan, Iran, mash pomegranates into a sweet, red, syrup.
Art from Morteza Zahedi, a children's author in Iran.
Maybe she will be one of the storytellers of tomorrow. I wonder what story she would tell? I wonder how we can affect the telling of that tale.