Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Irrigation Artist



I came across a web site maintained by the government of Iran, one of those PR efforts many governments engage in that are ignored by the media and probably seen by relatively few people. This one had reproduced a photograph of the ceiling of a mosque and there was a little link to the Flickr Photostream of the photographer. Flickr is one of those web sites where people post their personal pictures. If you click on this link, it should open up the top picture in a viewer from which you can click through to view all of this person's photos.



I started going through them and it turned out to be a remarkable collection of photos. There are portraits of regular Iranians, mosque ceilings, landscapes, sunsets, and lot of those photos where the photographer has seen something, a pattern, some order in the middle of chaos, where their artist's eye and their ability with the camera and their sense of visual balance results in something that  is aesthetically pleasing, moving, that gives you pause, connects with something in the unconscious somehow, makes you think a little. Art.



Iran, historically Persia, of course is one of those ancient countries with a long history of producing beautiful art in all kinds of forms -- literature, architecture, painting, you name it. I don't know if the photographer is connected to the government in some way or if the government just decided to use his photo in their propaganda efforts. The only information he'd entered about himself was that he is a "Irrigation system consultant engineer" and is from Abadan, which is a port city in Iran. Wikipedia says Abadan was badly damaged during the Iran-Iraq War and became almost entirely uninhabited, but that some of the people have returned since then.







As I was going through the photographs I was reminded of a guy in Albuquerque whose photographs I admire a lot, who has had careers in journalism and in government, but who one day picked up a camera and found out he could create something with it that's aesthetically pleasing, moving, gives you pause, connects with something in the unconscious somehow, makes you think a little. Art.
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