A passion for photography and photo-history drove Parisa Damandan to painstakingly seek and accumulate an impressive collection of portrait photographs from Isfahan, Iran. A native Isfahani herself, Damandan followed every lead and knocked on every door to find the pioneer studio photographers of the city. Covering the period of 1920-50, "Portrait Photographs from Isfahan," co-published with the Prince Claud Fund Library, is a visual document of a nation in transition to modernity, a matter explored and expounded upon by the accompanying articles. The man off the street with a fashionable chapeau and a three-piece suit or with the traditional turban and cloak, posing with friends, wife or children; recently emancipated women standing unveiled and confident; and Polish war refugees passing through the city on their trip back home after having been driven out by the Nazis, all found their way to the studio and posed for the camera.
'Excellent ... beautifully produced.' The Middle East in London 'Reveals as much about how photographers worked in the first half of the 20th century as it does about how people in those times saw themselves, how the identity of a nation took shape, fell apart and reformed against a backdrop of industrialization, modernity, political change and looming revolution and upheaval.' The Daily Star, Beirut 'A fascinating record of social change.' Saudi Gazette