nasser-din-shah

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It took some getting used to when it came to getting my photograph taken. I didn’t photograph much myself, there were a lot of responsibilities that kept me away from hobbies.

((Photography was first introduced to Iran during Mohammad Shah’s rule, with the first photographic apparatuses given to Iran “somewhere between 1839 and 1842, by the two colonial powers in Iran – England and Russia” [from the “Photography and Cinematography in Qajar Era Iran Conference” text from Dr. Pedram Khosronejad]. Such events fell into the context of Qajar Iran’s move towards “modernization”. This was coupled with increased contact with Europe, which supposedly made Iranians “painfully aware of the achievements and dynamism of the great powers and of their own shortcomings and low international standing” [from Hamid Naficy’s “A Social History of Iranian Cinema”]. Photography [and cinema] through the acts of self-representation [versus the European image construction of Iran as the backwards Orient], would become a method of shaping Iran’s modernity and national consciousness.

The Qajar Shah, Nasser al-Din Shah [ruled from 1848 to 1896], became a photographer himself. He was “fascinated by the new medium and its potential…”, so much so that “…in 1863 [he] appointed one of his favorite court attendants, Aqa Riza Iqbal al-Saltana, to learn the techniques of photography” [from the essay “Introduction of Photography in Iran]. Subsequently, the position of an official court photographer became established in the 1860’s, along with the establishment of an official darkroom and studio of Golestan Palace. Nasser al-Din Shah took a liking to self-portraits and in documenting his personal life, photos featuring his wives, harem, and the eunuchs of the royal court. An example would be a photo of Nasser Al Din Shah and  his harem here [funnily dubbed as “possibly the first selfie in Iranian history”]. He “arranged his own photographs in albums, added annotations, and arranged for European photographers to photograph his court and his country and to disseminate the images” [from Mirjam Brusius’ “Image Problems: Photographic (self-)representations of Persia]. There was also Antoin Sevruguin, an Iranian-Armenian photographer, whose internationally renowned work ranged from the landscapes of Iran, to Iranians themselves, to the events of the Constitutional Revolution [1905-1911]—depicting a variety of social realities in Iran.))

Babri (Tiger) Khan, favorite cat of Nasser-din Shah Qajar (King of Iran from, July 16, 1831 - May 1, 1896) 

Nasser-din Shah was very attached to his cat. It is said that if anyone in the court wanted the Shah to grant their wish, they would write it on a paper and put that paper around the neck of Babri Khan and Nasser-din Shah, after reading them would quickly grant them. 

(Source : Iroon.com) (Picture, by Nasser-din Shah himself)