“Iranian Memoir” – Paolo Pellegrin’s Photo Essay

Magnum Photos posts Iranian Memoir, a photo essay by Paolo Pellegrin, which is layered with Iranian-Americans who grew up outside Iran talking about their memories/conception of Iran. (It looks like many of the photos are from a photo essay he did for Newsweek, The Changing Face of Iran.)

Pellegrin’s images are unsettling – especially the black-and-whites, which have a kind of bleak, industrial, post-apocalyptic feel – not an image of Iran I am used to seeing, especially since the advent of Life Goes on in Tehran.

None of the speakers identify themselves, and the only other audio besides ambient noise is a snippet of Googoosh’s Hejrat. It’s pretty interesting to me that Pellegrin/Magnum chose to title this “Iranian Memoir” – where memoirs usually address a life that was actually lived, this one centers on lives that could have been lived.

What do you think of “Iranian Memoir”?

(Thanks, Maggie!)

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Thanks for sharing this!
I think there’s such a discongruity between image and audio in that essay. That isn’t always a bad thing, but for me, this was not a juxtaposition that opened up interesting avenues. Instead it felt like a lost opportunity: separately, the concept is interesting, the interviews seemed interesting, and the photos were interesting. But losing context for each of these by mashing them together to create some kind of nostalgic dream state just didn’t work for me.


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