PAST – PRESENT – FUTURE
A Glance at the Photography in Iran
The history of photography in Iran goes almost as early as the invention of camera and photography in the world. European explorers and researchers first brought cameras to Iran to take photographs applicable to their purposes. Nasereddin Shah,the Ghajar king , became interested in photography in an early age in 1850s. He took photographs of the members of his family, his wives in his harem(women’s apartment), and even self-portrait. Photography was first taught in Darolfonoon(a college started by Nasereddin Shah). As photography specialized in the second half of the nineteenth century ,Iranian photographers employed it in two ways. Some people accepted it as a profession and therefore started taking photographs of people for re-memoration. Others used it as an entertainment.
One of the most hardworking and successful photographers of this age was …………………………whose nationality we don’t know. He took plentiful photographs of different themes such as architecture, portrait, landscape and daily life of people. We and our photography owes him a lot. As people came to get familiar with this new phenomenon, it took an artistic form. Photographers were then looking for new appliances and technology. While in Europe photography as a new branch of art was being taken into consideration, it was not yet much noted in Iran and was not considered a rival for painting. Iranian painters didn’t react to it very much because they followed their special style then and photography couldn’t overshadow painting.
Photography as an art in Iran was not common until the middle of 19th century; it was used as applied photography. In the second half of the century sparkles of creative photography could scarcely be seen in some of the photographer’s works. Some hardworking and interested photographers came into light. They were the flag-bearers of the first generation of photographers. Gradually societies, clubs and photo festivals came into existence, but none of these were very integrated and professional. That was why they did not last long and therefore, very little was done until the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Along with the Revolution and the war between Iraq and Iran in 1980, a new generation of photographers started their work to cooperate with their previous ones. These photographers assisted by world news agencies tried to record the agitating events of the war. After the end of the war in 1988, photography in Iran could pace with the world movement in this art, both in regard to technology and artistic taste. More new photographers joined the old ones. World easy communication was a great help. Photographic sites, societies and associations began to hold more international exhibitions and contests. Acceptance of works by Iranian photographers in specialized exhibitions and showing them in museums and galleries is a sign that Iranian photographers are gradually trying to keep pace with the world movement.