Photography arrived in Iran during the Qajar period only a few years after its invention. The first photograph was taken more than 160 years ago, with Mohammad Shah as its subject. The first commercial photographic studio opened 15 years later, and photography began to be taught at the Darolfonoon Polytechnic around the same time. However it took many more years for a Museum of Photography to be opened in Tehran in 1995.
It is a small museum with few facilities, yet it endeavours to play a part in protecting Iran’s cultural heritage by collecting and preserving historical photographs. It holds 16 exhibitions per year on historical themes as well as on contemporary photography in Iran. One of these exhibitions is devoted to the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 and is held every year on the anniversary of this event.
The Museum’s latest exhibition focused on the pro-Constitution fighters in Tabriz which, as the second major city after the capital, was one of the main centres of the struggle for the Constitution. The 34 exhibited photographs included scenes of historical buildings damaged by the fighting, bodies of soldiers and opponents of the Constitution, single pictures of the military and religious leaders of the Revolution, revolutionary fighters posing in front of the captured positions, and group photographs of combatant units carrying weapons.
This multimedia report gives us an opportunity to visit the Museum of Photography in Tehran and view many of these remarkable and rare photographs which shed light on an event which was a watershed in the history of Iran.