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Photographer's Note

The photograph that I posted yesterday of Esfahan’s historic Khaju Bridge may have looked like there was not a lot of activity on the bridge, but UNDER the bridge it is teeming with life. People use the bridge to shelter from the hot sun in the summer months, and in the evening families come and drink tea, play music, have picnics and generally socialize – I was told they even have weddings there.

The arches under the Khaju bridge are reputed to be the coolest place in Esfahan because the wind blows down the river, is cooled by the water, then blows through the arches, cooling the alcoves - which themselves are insulated from the sun by the second level of the bridge above.

I took this sitting on one of the stone slabs, shooting from the waist with a wide angle lens (12 mm) so that nobody would look at the camera. Then I cropped this from the middle of the image. This was the best DOF that I could achieve because it was fairly dark under the arches and I didn’t want to use a flash. However, I was pleased with the detail of the stone slab in the foreground which clearly shows how the buttocks of millions of people can polish a slab of stone (I worked out in my head that if say 20 people had sat on this slab every day since the bridge was built in 1650, then that would be five million to date).

The two men in the middle seem to be just ‘people watching’, but further back you may be able to pick out a couple of men sleeping, and several women in their black chadors reading books. It certainly seemed to be a place to ‘chill out’.

After taking this shot, I started chatting to a very friendly local who had been sitting next to me. He spoke excellent English and I asked him whether such a place was safe after dark, because that wouldn’t necessarily be the case in many western countries. He assured me that it was, and told me that at night-time many more women and children would join the men under the bridge (I had noted that it seemed to be predominantly men there when I visited the bridge during the middle of the day). He said that meeting at night under the river bridges and along the river banks was very much part of Esfahan’s social culture.

PP: Apart from rotating and cropping, a slight adjustment to levels, increased contrast and saturation +10, USM at 450% (0.4).

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 108 N: 2568] (7789)
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