Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Spring is upon us

The combination of snow and yellow rusty leaves next to fresh, green growth, representing past, present and future. It is one of the simplest forms of contradiction that I've photographed.

On Thursday 20th March (2008) at 05:48:19am Britain will enter spring. This is the exact moment of the arrival of Nuroz (a variety of spelling for this word is used: norooz, noruz, norouz or nowrooz). Nuroz (the Persian New Year) celebration is about being in harmony with nature; a festivity that does not nurture a particular religion, ideology, background or belief. Another factor that adds to the potentially unifying feature of Nuroz is the fact that it arrives simultaneously in the entire northern hemisphere.

Nuroz has been traditionally celebrated as the triumph of light over darkness and as a new beginning in synchronization with nature. In preparation for its arrival and as a sign of regeneration:
- houses get makeovers and are cleaned thoroughly (something similar to spring cleaning practice)
- thoughts and appearances are reinvented [old grudges are forgetting about, people normally wear new clothes, too (the former is usually less conformed to than the latter!)]
- broken links in relationships are mended; family and friends make time for each other.

Outside Iran (excluding countries which celebrate Nuroz such as Afghanistan) Nuroz arrives whilst jobs, schools and other day-to-day commitments carry on as normal .

This year, however, Nuroz coincides with the Easter break. This makes it easier to focus on celebrating the arrival of spring; I cannot wait!

Whether you celebrate Nuroz or not, have a fantastic spring!

[Follow the link below to work out the exact moment of arrival of spring in your area:]
© All rights reserved

Monday, 25 February 2008

It's called Persian Gulf

(I came across this stone in Tenerife)

The persistence of some of the international media for referring to the Persian Gulf as the Gulf demonstrates the fact that they don't know or don't want to use the correct, historical name of the Persian Gulf. But this contagious “ignorance” (let’s just call it “ignorance”, for now) has recently moved up a level.

If the first level of the “ignorance” was to delete the word Persian from the Persian Gulf, the second level is to replace it with another word! This is the phase that we are now in. Seeing a recent petition [] protesting against the wrong name for the Persian Gulf that was used by a major virtual globe programme motivated me to write a few lines.

I am very surprised that we even need a petition for requesting a mistake to be corrected! Correcting the wrong data entry should not need petitions. Mistakes of this nature should have not occurred in the first place. If the wrong data is entered it falls on people responsible for maintaining the database to rectify the error as a matter of urgency. The level of staff competencies and the organisation’s safety nets for prevention of such wrong doings in future also needs to be assessed by the independent external bodies.

Considering misrepresenting of the name of the Persian Gulf has now reached an epidemic, a “conspiracy” theory is also lurking in the background (this might even suggest the exchange of money for the favour of falsifying data). At the moment I would like to accept the “ignorance” theory and to think that using the wrong name for the Persian Gulf was just a mistake that will be corrected soon.

Some of you might think that this is only a trivial matter and specific to people with ties with Iran. In this case, I would like to ask what your reaction would be if you refer to a world map only to discover that the Irish Sea is called the English Sea and the Gulf of Mexico is the Gulf of USA!
© All rights reserved

Friday, 22 February 2008

Shahnameh Ferdowsi

The picture (Legend = اسطوره, Originally uploaded by Shahireh) shows one of the 19th century stained glass windows of St Ann's church, Manchester, UK.

This image reminds me of Sohrab, one of the legendary figures of Shahnameh (translated as The Book of Kings). Shahnameh is a Persian epic written by Abu'l-Qasem Ferdowsi in the 10th century. It is one of the world-famous literary masterpieces and is translated in many languages. Many original copies of the book exist in libraries throughout the world; yet, it remains unknown to most of the English readers!
According to Charles Melville (2007) Shahnameh holds the record of the longest poem written by one author (it contains 50,000 verses). The same source also indicates that the first illustrated version of the book dates back to 1300. The illustrated versions contain the miniature paintings some of which are masterpieces in their own rights.
Shahnama Project aims to produce an electronic collection of painting of shahnameh manuscripts and to promote the study of shahnameh (what took them so long?). More can be read about Shahnama Project by visiting their site:
[I've named Shahnama Project as I am aware of their work; please feel free to add other sources in the comment section.]
Charles Melville (2007) Shahnama Project
Accessed on 22 Feb 2008

© All rights reserved

Thursday, 21 February 2008

A play: Expensive Parenting (To Atusa)

(I took this photo in Cheshire, UK, 2007)

(Scene, A bedroom with a door at the back, on the right corner, leading to the hallway. On the same side there is a built in wardrobe covering the wall. On the opposite side, a double bed is positioned against the wall in the middle. Two small bedside tables, each with a lamp on, are placed on sides of the bed. In the left-hand wall a big window dressed with a pair of flowery pattern curtains meeting in the middle. An exercise bike is positioned next to the window and is covered with clothes. The floor is covered with a beige carpet partly covered with a small red rug in the middle. It is early morning.

The mother is sitting on the bed, resting her back against the headboard. On the bedside table near her there is a coffee stained mug placed in an empty plate. She is in her pyjamas and is typing away on her laptop which is placed on a pillow on her stretched out legs. Her eyes are red, she is yawning. A crying sound is heard from the hall way. Enters the daughter with tearful eyes, sobbing.)

MOTHER (with a worried look, whilst putting the laptop away) What is it? Are you hurt?

DAUGHTER MUM...! Tooth fairy has forgotten all about me!

MOTHER (she remembers) What? Oh God! Tooth fairy? I forg…Don’t cry (she seats her down beside herself on the bed). Maybe tooth fairy had too much to do last night? I am sure she comes tonight. You’ll see.

DAUGHTER No! No! You don’t understand. Tooth fairy always comes on the first night. Everyone knows that. She is not going to come. I am the only person in my class that she has forgotten about.

MOTHER (looking guilty) Don’t worry, honey. Not all tooth fairies are the same, just like humans, we are all different. This one might prefer to come on the second night. (She thinks for a second, her eyes sparkle) I know! Tooth fairy is waiting for you to wash your hands and face. I don’t think she likes to see children crying. Why don’t you wash your face and then recheck under your pillow?

(DAUGHTER looked puzzled, but leaves the room hesitantly)

(MOTHER in an anxious way, she looks around, throws a jacket on the floor and finds her hardback hanging from the handle of the exercise bike. She takes her purse out of the bag and empties its content on the bed, in a panic. She realizes that she has no coin. She grabs a £20 note and runs out of the room. A few seconds latter she is back. She looks pale and panting. She sits on the corner of the bed and starts putting the content of her purse away)

DAUGHTER (from outside the room she is shouting, YES, YES! She enters with a big smile on her face.) Mum you were right. Tooth fairy was waiting for me to wash my face. Look mum, look! She has given me lots of money, not coins like what she has given to my friends. Look!

MOTHER (sigh in relief, and hugs her daughter) I know honey, I know. I told you; this fairy is different!

© All rights reserved

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The taste of photography

(my camera and I)
My first real joy of photography came about in 2006, when I bought my first digital camera. Gradually, photography turned out to be more than just a hobby or a way to unwind. It became a creative outlet and replaced my interest in other forms of Art (in particular pottery).

As well as learning about photography itself, taking images has provided me with opportunities to practice skills such as understanding perspectives, negotiating skills, problem solving and networking. Additionally the medium has made me more aware of the surroundings. Holding a camera in my hand equates to having a third vision. Through the lens of the camera I can see new details of familiar sites that I had failed to see previously.

The medium also works very well as a means of communication. Photo-essay is my favourite way of storytelling or conveying messages that without the aid of images would have been less effective and tricky to express.

With recent advances in photo-sharing programmes (e.g. Flickr, owned by yahoo), it is not difficult to share the passion and learn from others. Photo-sharing can potentially be a learning method just like any other peer reviewed process. Having the chance to view the work of many great photographers from the comfort of your own home can be a convenient replacement for visits to art galleries.

For amateurs like me, having one or more of your photos selected by others as favourite, can be a confidence booster. On the downside, joining a community such as Flickr can easily turn your hobby into a competition! Although, not taking disappointing comments, lack of views, etc. too seriously helps you to keep on enjoying sharing your photos and experiences with others.

My verdict? Digital photography is a detoxifying, yet addictive experience. Have you tried it yet?

© All rights reserved