New Photo Book Travels Iran in 1956


Iran - Caged
Iran - Caged

Destination: Iran

Book: Inge Morath: Iran Additional text by Monika Faber and Azar Nafisi and edited by John P. Jacob. Review copy provided by the publisher, Steidl, Germany.

Traveling alone, Inge Morath (who later would marry Arthur Miller and collaborate on various projects) toured Iran and took photographs for various clients in the United States. She died in 2002, and the Inge Morath Foundation has assembled photographs and records of this trip taken in 1956 for [amazon_link id=”3865216978″ target=”_blank” ]IRAN[/amazon_link].

Monika Faber, from the Albertina Museum in Vienna, who explains Morath’s techniques in a text, quotes Morath.

I always preferred territories: Iran in the Middle East…Spain and Mexico, Russia and China, countries whose influence extended beyond their borders, ‘mother cultures,’ she wrote.,[…]Most of the time it was literature that raised my enthusiasm for a certain place, visual and popular art that stimulated my eye…”

Iran Marketplace - broom seller

Ah, yes, that sounds familiar doesn’t it?  “Literature than raised my enthusiasm for a certain place”?

The reader is not only treated to a beautiful presentation of the black and white photos of an Iran that does not exist any more, but details such as her letters of assignment and minutiae of the journey that make it easier to understand the circumstances of her travel.

It is difficult to convey the fascination of these photos–a marketplace in a village of sand-blown mud huts, a Zorastrian ceremony inside a home, ordinary people in traditional costumes posing unselfconsciously for the camera. You can look at these photographs for sheer enjoyment, for a history lesson, or if you love photography, as a lesson in technique. You don’t have to be traveling to Iran to enjoy poring over these 320 images.

Iran: Little Girls Weaving Rugs

An interview with Azar Nafisi, author of [amazon_link id=”0812979303″ target=”_blank” ]Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books[/amazon_link] and [amazon_link id=”B004JZWMZ8″ target=”_blank” ]Things I’ve Been Silent About: Memories[/amazon_link], relates the historical Iran with today’s realities. This afterword and the one by Monika Faber, make this book more satisfying to me–because I like a story–than books with ONLY photographs in them.

The photos shown here are copyright by the Inge Morath Foundation. DO NOT COPY. Shown by courtesy of Magnum Photos.

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

5 thoughts on “New Photo Book Travels Iran in 1956

  1. Recently read Nicolas Bouvier’s The Way of the World describing this part of the world, including a portrait of village life, in about the same time period. Thought to share. -r

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