Photography Articles

Reprinted from: Honar Nameh, University of Art, Tehran, No. 26, Spring 2005

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Nassereddin Shah, The World’s Most Famous Amateur Photographer

Mohammad Reza Sharif-zadeh

Iran, 2005

Photography, which arrived in Iran just three years after its invention in Europe, attracted the thirteen-year old crown prince’s attention so much that he remained a devotee till the end of his life.

After ascending to the throne, Nassereddin, the King of Qajar, proceeded to engage in photography before attending to any other business.

Existing photographs of harem women, self-portrait of the Shah, footnotes written on photographs conveying a great deal of information about the times, his orders to prepare and translate photography texts into Persian, his orders to prepare reports of various places in Iran, dispatching photographers to historic sites to photograph them, such as “Photography of Persepolis”, photographing wars… paralleled other countries, but were mostly left unfinished or were completed later.

These are the reasons for lack of progress in photography in Iran. Perhaps, a more caring outlook would have enabled Iranian photography to rival that in the West.