The Green, Wet Beloved Town of My Childhood.
The days of childhood passed in Gargan, my verdant wet beloved town. My childhood was filled with sleet, green jungles, red mushrooms, wild violets, forest of oaks and cotton-pods. It was fraught with golden drops (that every morning sprinkled on our flower bed); my childhood mingled with the spray of rain.
On those days, the great jungle was my close friend, I knew all its trees one by one and I was acquainted with all the residents of the trees. I knew where the first oak had grown and to whom the wild apple tree had offered its shadow?
I was living in that wet verdant town, I knew as well as other children knew, some trees in the jungle gush honey out and invite our small desirous mouths. We kept our mouth under the drops of honey and gnawed at its hard wax.
Any event made us very happy or very sad. Nothing was indifferent to us.
When I was living in the wet green town, and I was a child, along with oth
ers, we shoving our teeth in all the wild raw fruits and squeezing the tuberous of wild cyclamens with two fingers. We smelled the summer snow and we knew the happy Chepalak would save its fruit for us.
To us death meant the spill of apple’s blooms. At nights we used to jump over the glow worm. They did not believe in sin at all.
When I was in that verdant wet town and I was a kid, like all other kids, all the atoms of our body flew in the sky and formed along with the nature. Our fingers ever ready to drew out the cotton yet moist from its pods and our hands ready to pick the best part of the pulp of the watermelon has been warmed under the sun heat, broken into two pieces by casting it on the ground. Our eyes always searching the black circles of the sun flowers and our eyes waiting the sunset to see how the sunflowers turned back to the setting sun and our hearts that burnt for the sun.
Our hearts burnt for the Tehrani friends too (yet it is burning too!) who did not know what the red mushroom is and they did not know that there is a flower called “blood drop”. They had never tasted the valik, they did not know that cotton is a plant and there are some days that in some fields the pods of cotton are hanging from bushes. I was sorry for them because they have no experience to count the number of rain’s drops, even they do not know, if they find the four-leaf clover, they will be happy in their future life. But we knew and kept looking at them. (Later when I grew older and I learnt to define the blooms of orange and I explored that death does not emit the smell of apple’s bloom, I bought a necklace of four-leaf clovers for myself.)
In this wet verdant town that surrounded with tall fences of berry bushes, the Norooz (New Year) meant spring and spring meant the arrival of Norooz. At this season the jungle was covered with the wild violets, cyclamens, red mushrooms and primroses and town was fraught with blooms, rain and the wet blooms of citrus.
By arrival of spring, the town was laden with blooms of orange and people were stupor of its soporific smell. We placed the blooms in our hair and made bracelet and necklace of them. We gathered blooms for our mums’ jam. We never paraphrase the orange blooms, we live with them.
By arrival of Norooz, I knew that red mushrooms had arrived too. I used to go to the jungle, eagerly and tirelessly probe into the rotten earth and under the fermented leaves for hours to find them. The mushrooms, in the form of a small bright red bowls, usually live on the rotted woods in a special height of jungle. I enjoyed finding and taking them home. I stared at their bowl for a long time but I did not understand. I have composed some poems for them too. However I never meaning the red mushroom.
Now after many years, once in a time by the arrival of Norooz I take myself to my beloved jungle to look for red mushroom, finding that red circle on the dark wet ground revives that childhood happiness, albeit for a moment.
For many years the arrival of Norooz meant to me the arrival of a jungle man and bouquets of wild violet. When I was very young on the first days of Norooz the wood cutter gifted us wild violet from neighboring jungle (perhaps my mum gave him a good tip) I imagined that he was a prince disguised as a wood cutter to hide his real identity from my mum. My room was filled with wild violets and I composed some stanza for the violets and the jungle man.
And those spring rains are raining yet in my recollections of childhood, we used to wash our childhood body in the rain and at the same time we were worried about mother’s reproach.
On those days rain-hit jungle seemed splendid and fearful. We called on my father’s petite jungle of grafts of Bougain and observed the streams of water among the grafts as the giant gods of fables. I always remember my father’s fingers pressing the earth at the feet of the grafts. He was the man who taught me the plant.
We sat under the trees and counted the drops of rain. We did not interpret the rain. In our town no one had umbrella. When I turn my head and look at the sky of my childhood, I see what a rain is raining.
Iran my everlasting verdant beloved town!
I am full of gratitude for I breathed your fresh air, for I ran in your plains, for I climbed your mountains summit, for I drank your spring’s water , for I enjoyed love your people, for I caressed your animals, and for I smelled your flowers .
Iran, my dear homeland!
Your beauties taught my eyes what splendor means; your kindness taught me what kindness means and my love to you, taught me what pain means. I wish through my photos I could show the whole vast arena of your soul as well as your great sphere. I wish show the great area of your land, your nice people, your beautiful nature and your wonderful living creatures and above all your flowers that I have looked at them with love and excitation.
And now with the trend that man is destroying the earth, I wish immortalize my eyesight for my offspring and those who probably will not see many of these wonders and leave them as a memory. Perhaps I could share a small part of this immortality.
O my homeland! it is a pity that I could not meet such a great debts. I owe you for all the blessings that you have bestowed on me; I wish to be an honorable offspring for you.
Iran, my beloved flower! I am sure when I sleep beneath your earth forever, flower will bloom from all the atoms of my heart.
The present book is a sign of my debt to my close friends: primrose, narcissus anemone, hyacinth, lily, acacia.
Maryam Zandi is a photographer from all the aspects and all the views. She is a professional photographer i.e. her main job is taking photography. To her photography means life and life means photography. In addition to through photography she has shown “nature” on the basis of her poetic beliefs, therefore her photos take the hue of her poems. One could regard her photos as the continuation of her life and her life as the continuation of her poetic life. As if she tries to crystallize her dream-like beliefs, rooted in her childhood and her juvenile, by choosing flower and nature as the main motifs of her photos and by resorting this approach she helps us to understand some parts of her dreams. Streaming such a feeling to others, is special to the one whose attachment to nature is free from any lucrative goals. She shows her attachments through picturing the nature. If her poems indicate her deep humanistic feelings that have been mingled with flowers, plants, forests and nature and through her poems she has roamed in the labyrinth of this verdant world; her photos also are the manifestation of unification of nature with her Iranian artistic spirit. Her photos of flowers and the manner of her flower setting in her atelier as well as the manner of light projecting, endow a special freshness and beauty to the photos that seems the photographer has granted more beauty and freshness to the flowers. These photos make the beholder to praise the nature.
Choosing faces and flowers is two different aspects of life in the Maryam’s photos and one can regard these two views as a completing aspect of her professional taking photography. Black and white taking photography of faces to show the internal nature of people through their distinguished symbols and external dispositions and traits, is really a difficult job. In this approach an aspect of a man’s tangible life has been shown. Nevertheless by taking photo of nature, an obvious aspect of outer world would be placed in the collected works of the photographer which shows the spiritual abilities of the artist to find the various aspects of the factors of external world.
Maryam Zandi is an earnest and serious photographer and during the years she has worked professionally, she has created some works are a new expression in the field of photography. Although she is known as a photographer who portraits the great contemporary people in the area of literature, painting, music and cinema and her precious contribution in this genre ensues great historical importance, but her different look at the nature has deeply impressed the arena of photography. Her different look at nature, has opened a new window to the world in the realm of taking photography. It should be noted that before Maryam, we scarcely have seen a special subject and theme in photography. Iran, My Beloved Flower is the first book has been published in the field of photography of flowers, the field that our photography seriously needs it. The book that focuses on a specialtopic-such photography paves the path for special genre in the realm of photography that terminates to specialization of this art.
Publishing the present book is the continuation of an effort started with publication of Portraits to stabilize a special view. Such a view must be continued and regarded seriously free from various ideas. No one can deny the attraction of flower and nature, but there are many attractive topics have been neglected and our artistic photography must discover them.
Maryam has a pretty treatment with Iran’s flower and nature. Her deliberate studious effort to discover her “special look” in taking photography of flower is a great stride she has made in the ground of Iran photography. Pursuing such an effort by publishing other volumes in the subject of nature of Iran will terminate to a fruitful process in the realm of taking photo of nature and flower. As we have seen before by publication of the collection of books under the title of “Portraits” she founded a new school in the field of Iran photography.
It is obvious that the fruitful presence of Ebrahim Haghighi in creating such a book encouraged the publisher to publish the present book as a completing effort in the art of Iran photography and with regard to its various aspects of the art, publisher plans for future publication in this field.
The photographing plan of flowers in the studio is a joint effort of me and Ebrahim Haghighi.
The project was started in 1994. At first we followed it it orderly but later on it became it occasionally. The result of this joint effort is an archive covering various photos of Iran’s flora that all of them have been designed and photographed in the studio. So much gratitude to Ebrahim Haghighi who helped me in all the processes (from buying the flowers to design) and I benefited so much of his comments and advice. It was a great joy that my studio was immersed in the flowers everyday.
Especial thanks to Mr Mahmoudreza Bahmanpour for his good idea about publishing this book and many thanks to him for his cooperation in gathering and publishing this book, a collection which brought us so much happiness. I would like to share this pleasure with him.