A visit to Iran, specifically Persepolis and Esfahan 41 years after my Mum. I took some of her photos for comparison… not a lot had changed.

I grew up listening to my Mum’s tales of travelling overland from Sydney to London in 1975, of being held a gun point for a night by some rather bored Argentinean rebels and of being in Moscow when Elvis died, but I always knew Iran, and Persepolis had a special place in her heart.

Iran was a place she loved and before I ventured there I dug out some of her old photo slides, had the photos printed and took them with me. Shooting on film meant she only took a few shots and most of them were in Persepolis and the Shah Mosque, or Imam Mosque as its now known, in Esfahan.

A few of the scenes have changed a little, but mostly I was seeing exactly what my Mum saw 41 years ago.

Society in Iran though has changed dramatically.

1975 was pre-revolution, no hard-line religious government with strict moral code, no compulsory hijab, in fact some women wore short skirts, no sanctions, just to name a few. I’m not trying to say it was a perfect country before the revolution, the Shah’s regime was definitely problematic, I’m just trying to say it’s a very different place to the one my Mum saw.

Yet, it’s still very much the same in other ways, after all the people aren’t the government.

Not being able to share my trips with any more (she died a few years ago), taking her photos with me was a way to take her with me.

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  1. Fabrizio

    December 1, 2016 at 05:38

    What a beautiful idea, I really enjoyed those superimpositions. You are right though, people aren’t the government and in Iran this is very true (and, I’d argue, even the government isn’t fully how it’s portrayed to be, but…).

    Thanks for this beautiful post.


    1. Emma

      December 5, 2016 at 10:18

      Thank you Fabrizio! Have you been to Iran?

  2. Iran: Shiraz to Yazd, a tale of Iranian hospitality | Anything to Declare?

    March 28, 2017 at 14:43

    […] I’d already wandered the streets and alleys of the south-side of the dry Khoshk River (it’s just a dirt patch, a common sight in most of Iran due to damming and climate change), found the street art, and been left with a lacklustre feeling by the bazaars. They’re full of brightly coloured plastic goods, polyester clothing and cooking pots big enough to fit a person in, hardly inspiring. Though I will make quick mention of the old caravanserai tucked at the back of the Vakil Bazaar; there’s art, more traditional wares, wonderful mosaics on the ceilings and the Seray-e Mehr Teahouse serving great food (and it has a Western toilet, a rarity on this side of town). I’d also been to Persepolis, one of the great draw cards of Shiraz, but that’s another story. […]

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