“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.

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Hassan Sarbakhshian
Hasan Sarbakhshian is a prominent photographer, documentary filmmaker, producer and editor. His work covers diverse themes and has appeared in numerous international newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Time and The Economist. Hasan was a photojournalist for the Associated Press for over a decade and has received numerous awards for his work. In addition, he has served as a curator and juror in many international competitions and festivals. Currently, he is a producer of TV documentary series and the editor-in-chief of Tableau Magazine.


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  • © Siamak Pourzand Foundation, 2014