“Censorship’s Blade on Photography” by Hassan Sarbakhshian
During the second term of Mohammad Khatami’s presidency I decided to publish a book with my photography. With my work as a war photographer in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the many photos that I had taken on various domestic affairs in Iran, I had an abundance of work to publish. Yet, no publisher was willing to take a risk with a book that would include photography of any given year’s current affairs photography. They were worried that within only a few months the book would lose its relevance and audiences. As a result, I finally had to pay for it myself and publish this book independently. I prepared a draft of this book, and handed to the Ministry of Islamic Guidance for their review, hoping that they would issue a publication license for it. After a few months of anticipation, weeks before an upcoming presidential election that resulted in the victory of Mahmood Ahmadinejad, I received a call from the Ministry. The man who had called me introduced himself, and asked me to go to his office at the Ministry of Islamic Guidance to respond to a few questions and requests for clarifications regarding my book.