My latest upload was the last photo from my journey through Afghanistan in 1972. Today I only move a short distance from Herat to Mashhad, the major city in northeastern Iran, close to the Afghan border. This photo was taken the same day that I entered Afghanistan for the first time.
This is a view towards the Imam Reza shrine, a large complex containing the mausoleum of Imam Reza, the eight Imam of the Twelver Shiites, a branch of Shia Islam. A huge mosque, a library, a university and several other institutions are also found inside this complex, making Mashhad the second most important pilgrimage centre in Iran, second only to the city of Qom, south of Tehran.
With the assistance of a few local students I managed to enter the shrine. I was a bit disappointed that the visit was far too short, but when I tried to go back alone an hour later I was stopped by guards and politely told that this area was strictly off limits for me.
This photo shows the problems of taking pictures in busy streets. Suddenly someone could step in front of the camera. In pre-digital days, when films were expensive, it was not always possible to just take another photo. I was at the beginning of what would be a very long journey and could not afford to waste films.
In spite of the man walking too close, out of focus, I upload this photo just to show you the impressive building. Here is a larger version.
Critiques | Translate
photographer_sg (2923) 2014-03-10 9:18
that's a superbly realised view of the mosque with glorious colours and clarity. Lovely framing with the trees on both sides. Great perspective and the man in front hardly makes any difference. The yellow cabs remind me of Calcutta! Thanks for sharing and have a great new week.
serp2000 (37893) 2014-03-10 9:30
I think, that was good times for Iran, the streets of Mashhad are full of life and the cars from the whole world. I bet this photo was published after your journey in some Swedish magazine.
Best wishes from Ural,
COSTANTINO (51290) 2014-03-10 11:03
Hello dear friend
I am so glad to visit your photos because
I travel all over the world particularly
in countries far away from mine and difficult
to visit them even today you are very lucky
photographer and this shot has a great perspective
the yellow color makes the difference
have a nice new day
cornejo (27979) 2014-03-10 11:48
Hello Gert, very good view of this interesting and beautiful scene of daily life, with a nice building in the background, very well captured in this great and beautiful photography. Interesting picture with good sharpness, depth, light and color. Very good and nice job perfectly done, congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing this interesting work.
Good evening and happy start to the week.
Best wishes from southern Spain.
ourania (26348) 2014-03-10 11:52
the next destination is fascinating too, it also has warm summer colours but in an urban setting this time. The shrine is absolutely splendid, as a "newcomer" I can't take my eyes off of it and am surprised to see a busy city street in the foreground. The combination of the two is very intriguing and surely tells us a lot about daily life and culture in this place. I think that in many cases intrusions that had once rendered our captures disappointing with time become useful information that add naturalness and spontaneity to our shots. This is a very vivid scene. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great evening,
pajaran (48397) 2014-03-10 12:00
Interesantan i dobar tekst o mestu i trenutku, lepo secanje ...
Dobar rad, lepa fotografija.
Prijatno vece i sve najbolje u novoj nedelji koja je pocela, srecno.
Interesting and good article about the place and time, good memories ...
Good work, beautiful photos.
Good evening and all the best in the new week that started, good luck.
saxo042 (36906) 2014-03-10 12:43
Man undrar just hur det ser ut här idag, men jag letade och hittade denna bild här på TE, tagen 2010. Men det är väl mycket runt omkring som har förändrat sig på närmare 40 år. På den nyare bilden ser det ju ut att vara många heltäckta kvinnor. Tog du inga bilder när du var på hemväg. Men en mycket intressant bild är det ju!
UlfE (14639) 2014-03-10 12:50
En mycket intressant bild på många sätt. Intressant att se att biltrafiken var ganska intensiv redan då. Folklivet är också spännande att titta på. Den berömda helgedomen är också intressant, men verkar inte här ses från den mest imponerande vinkeln, men det kompenseras med råge av det livliga gatulivet från detta håll. Ha en bra vecka!
PaulVDV (20389) 2014-03-10 13:08
The contrast between a Iranian metropolis like Mashhad and the cities in Afghanistan must have been very big.
Of course I have no idea how Iran looked like in 1972. I visited Mashhad in 1996 and had a similar experience as you had.
The evening that I arrived there I was able to enter the shrine without any questions of the guards. Inside I was guided around by Iranian pilgrims who were very proud of the shrine and everything that there was to see. But it was too late for pictures. The next day I went back and then I was stopped by the guards. I tried another entrance but also without success.
I thought it had to do with the bombing at the shrine in 1994 in which 26 people were killed. But now I read that you were refused the entrance in 1972.
A similar thing happened to me in Qom. Twice I could enter the sanctuary without problems but the third time the guards were unrelenting in their judgement.
I think you captured well the frantic traffic in this big city and especially on the streets leading to the Imam Reza shrine and this together with a view of the monumental gateway and the beautiful golden dome.
Looking at this picture I note that I don't remember to have seen bikers in Iran ... I must have forgotten.
Best regards, Paul
Fis2 (81888) 2014-03-10 13:13
A very curious building.
Wonderful front elevation.
I like frame and colors.
Excellent work from your archive (1972).
emka (73183) 2014-03-10 13:30
So, how you get into this shrine? have you a false beard and something on the head? Fantastic photo. This is the tyupe of mosque that I would like to see, with dome and well decoraterd gate. Iran is a country that I would like to visit but I have no idea how. Specially Persepolis would be my dream. I like the view of the man even if a bit out of focus. And you are right, when the films were very expensive one have to think much more in order not to waste money. Very long journey - how long?
My archive is big but nothing compared to yours as to quality.
WArm regrads MAlgo
imageme (1532) 2014-03-10 16:42
Hi Gert, Great old time street atmosphere in Afghanistan. Nice perspective with wonderful details. I like the architecture and the little yellow cars. They give a rich feeling of the city. Thank for sharing
omid266 (3224) 2014-03-10 20:14
** Salam , Hi Gert ,
This is an excellent , splendid and rare image from
the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (P.B.U.Him) ,
very very nice and memorable for me and
also I guess for all Iranian people ,
well done friend and Thanks for sharing this historic
and memorable image ,
Good luck ,
Regards , Omid -I.R.I
fabbs99 (15681) 2014-03-10 21:19
Classic image of the shrine from Masshad.Nice sharpness, clarity and light. TFS.
Subhogen (4065) 2014-03-10 22:34
This a beautiful view of the majestic shrine. Its a pity that your were not allowed inside the shrine for a second time. There is a temple too in India where they do not allow westerners. I do not want to name it. You cannot reason with mindless religious fanatics. But whatever we see from the outside its a beautiful depiction of Islamic architecture, specially the golden dome and minarets. The daily life with the busy street has been well captured too. Thanks for sharing this view of a city in Iran so long ago.
tyro (18588) 2014-03-11 2:48
Again you have given us a very interesting first-hand report of your visit to this place even though you were unfortunately thwarted in your attempts to revisit it.
And you photograph is delightful too - real "reportage" - but also I think that the inclusion of the man walking in front of your camera is quite a fortunate mishap - I think he really adds to the "immediacy" of the shot giving a real snapshot of "daily life" here from more than forty years ago.
And you have captured this magnificent building very well indeed, the golden dome perfectly placed in the frame and the amazing frontage of the building making a fine backdrop to the hustle and bustle of the busy street.
Lovely light and very good colours, good exposure and excellent details in this scan of what I presume was from an Agfacolor CT18 slide.
Nicou (116266) 2014-03-11 3:13
quelle vue de cette rue sueprbe compo et iamge avec la coupole dorée sueprbe et les voiture quelle scène et ensemble mervielleux.
Bravo et amitié
wolf38 (30276) 2014-03-11 7:32
Hello Gert. Today a 42 year old photo from Iran. Since then, very little seems to have changed. The text on the picture is first class, because the background situation is well explained.
Good thing there is the digital technology today - then makes the much less complicated, cheaper and better. Also today is expected limitations if you want to enter a temple, shrine or other. I also think of the many photographers who lose their lives in the conflict zones of the world.
Kamilutka (8095) 2014-03-11 7:57
your archive photos are very precious contribution to TE and I always like to look at them and read your interesting notes. This picture shows not only the mosque - which is quite spectacular with all the fine details - but also the street life years ago. Very well captured and presented.
All the best!
SnapRJW (29282) 2014-03-11 8:45
Hello Gert - This shot has a completely different ambience to your previous rural scene. Here we see a modern and busy city. I presume the yellow cars are taxis? Most of the men are wearing western style clothing but once again, women are noticeably absent!
The mosque glitters and shines over the scene taking pride of place both in your photograph and in the hearts of the people. A fascinating shot with rich detail and again a wonderful glimpse of a place I doubt I shall ever have the pleasure of visiting.
Warm regards Rosemary
Silvio1953 (115857) 2014-03-11 14:12
Ciao Gert, great view of fantastic architecture, nice scene full of life, wonderful colors and splendid light, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio
rychem (19443) 2014-03-11 23:01
This photo is more than 40 years old, and is simply perfect, I admire the quality of this analog photo, beautiful architecture and perfect light management
mirosu (12518) 2014-03-12 1:41
Excellent snapshot from busy street with beautiful mosque in background. All in excellent light, nice colors.
Very well done.
lousat (72231) 2014-03-12 3:21
Hi Gert,magnificent corner full of beautiful architechtures,your visit inside were fast but the spectacle is great outdoor too,great capture with very good quality and most interesting,i like it! Have a nice day and thanks,Luciano
Royaldevon (26515) 2014-03-12 4:09
I am still absorbing your spirit of youth, eager to trek to these far flung places and travel alone!
Your photograph gives us a big contrast with your previous shots. Here, the roads are surfaced and crowded with people, whilst the main mode of transport is not animal!
The building is superbly decorated with intricate patterns, leading ultimately to the large, golden dome. You must have been in awe when you saw this!
I don't think the offending pedestrian spoils the shot at all. He adds to the sense of a busy city.
Have a lovely day,
subhendu_bagchi (25252) 2014-03-12 4:20
another special one from your old stock. Excellent street view with an eye catching architecture at back. You composed it nicely with fine depth and sharpness. Excellent picture quality though it had been taken 42long years ago. Thanks for sharing it superb one. Tfs.
mesutilgim (79988) 2014-03-12 4:41
Hello dear Gert,
Just go ahead ! We are learning here through your endless seeming archive the beauties of the Eastern World.
This one is also very nice. Perfect entry with many good and usefull notes.
TFS and best regards
abmdsudi (39538) 2014-03-12 7:40
A nice take of a busy street scene where people add so much live and lots more to catch the eye with the welcoming yellow cab befitting the fg with backdrop golden dome fit stunningly there. Perspective wise the eye is drawn diagonally extending the view to savour loads of interest on an interesting location in bright colours and brilliant weather. This shot does encapsulate the local life, full of content and interest. Congrats, TFS
eldancer1 (25151) 2014-03-12 7:42
Beautiful architecture! Nicely captured with good lighting and nice details. Love the colors of those tiles and the dome. Very well done, tfs.
macjake (52076) 2014-03-13 16:24
So you couldn't get into the same place on your own eh?
Guess it does depend on WHO you know doesn't it! haha
and you bring up such a true point about not wanting to waste film - and the advantage of digital photography now. Remember the days when digital first came out, and a 1MP point and shoot camera was about $600 haha
Makes me wonder what the next 25 years of photography will bring...i've heard they're trying to introduce smells into the photo! that'll be strange!
love seeing all the old cars, but otherwise its hard to tell this was taken over 40 years ago.
keep these coming.
MGHPARSI (759) 2014-03-13 22:53
Nice view from Mashhad city.
Kielia (22913) 2014-03-14 9:20
this is so attractive with the colours attracting the eye. Compositionally, the photo is very busy and interesting – and the pedestrian who is stepping into the scenery is giving the shot an added human element. My compliments also for the interesting notes!
Graal (95343) 2014-03-15 9:58
unusual and interesting complex. Good presentation from 1972. Nice architecture of Islam culture. Superb quality of scan.
Have a nice evening.
kasianowak (4888) 2014-03-16 11:13
Magnificent building and it's interesting to see the traffic and people in the street - Iran locked in time in the 70s. I was surprised to read you didn't like the fact that the man in the right bottom corner (it's him you mean, don't you?) walked into the shot. I rather like him as he's well placed and looks good this environment.
I do remember the times when photography was much more difficult. My problem was not just wasted and costly film that prevented me from retaking the photo but the fact I often didn't not even realise someone walked into the shot. On many occassions I discovered that upon return back home... Ah, the early days... :)
Enjoy your Sunday evening
claudeD (30437) 2014-03-18 2:21
very interesting scenery full of life showing this very interesting architecture. Very good informative note.TFS.
With regards from Luxembourg
Miguel82 (20150) 2014-03-18 9:59
This is a fantastic document Gert from eastern Iran, the mosque in the bg is so beautiful with fine patterns, yellow cabs and cyclists on the road, excellent hues and sharpness, regards
mkamionka (29215) 2014-03-21 10:04
I am just about 2 months older than this photo, so I don't even know how my home country looked like in this time :)
Fantastic document! I guess the old cars are the best way to judge the age of the photo as it is of such good quality. I really admire your scanning and processing skills.
Beautiful place too with great golden dome and attractive arcades which make a nice repeated motif here,
Very well done,
kwekwekan (1028) 2014-03-23 17:56
Hi again Gert,
Another great upload. I think nowadays with the digital era (and the large memory cards that accompany it) we try to hard to get the perfect image, but we miss out on the spontaneity that gives us an actual sense of what a place is like. The man in this instance adds an important element of interest and helps frame the shrine and contextualize the city. As always, thanks for sharing.
mcmtanyel (10447) 2014-04-22 22:08
The man on the street is insignificant - in this photo, that is. In real life, that is what the Shah of Iran thought and we know how he ended up. I wonder how Iranians would remember these days, as good old days or the repressed old days. Beautiful building, lovely slide.