In 1956, Inge Morath traveled to the Middle East where she wore the traditional chador and traveled alone most of the time. “It was difficult to photograph there as a woman”, she later wrote. Morath’s subjects range from politics to religion and from work to commerce; from the Shah’s palace to the nomad’s tent to the Zoroaster’s sacred shrine.
Morath entered deeply into the culture of the places she visited and the lives of the people she photographed in order to document, as she noted, “the continuity - or lack of it - between past and present.” She photographed Iran with the fine vision of an anthropologist, examining religious rituals, costuming, work, sport, music, art, and theatre. Morath’s work in Iran presaged her later work in Spain, China, and Russia, creating an extensive document of the clash between modernity and tradition in the post-war world.
Retrospectively this book recalls a land and a culture that has been profoundly transformed since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. It is a window into the past which provides a unique perspective on Iran in the present.