Saturday, 25 February, 2017

Iran holds a special place in my heart, HONY photographer says

HUMAN

The founder of the popular photography blog Humans of New York (HONY) says Iran holds a special place in his heart.

American photographer Brandon Stanton has paid a visit to Iran for the second time over the last few years.

In his “last summer stop” after a successful trip to Pakistan earlier this month, Stanton posted photographs and stories about Iranians on Facebook.

HONY’s founder has acknowledged that the country is special for him because it was the first international location he included in the project, visiting in 2012

“My last stop this summer is Iran. Iran holds a special place in my heart because it was the first international trip that I ever made with HONY. But that was three years ago, and I’ve always looked back at the collection with a tinge of regret, because HONY was still quite new and the work was pretty uncooked. I was only just beginning to include quotes alongside the photographs,” said Stanton in a Facebook post before returning to Iran.

“I always wished that I could return and do a better job telling the stories of ordinary Iranians, and I’m excited to have that opportunity.”

Following his 2012 trip, Stanton said that while he opposes many policies by the Iranian government, he encourages others to travel to Iran.

“The US Government has a lengthy travel warning for Iran. While not advising you to ignore this warning, I do advise that you balance it with direct accounts of Americans who have recently visited the country. These accounts are generally filled with superlatives– the country is beautiful, the history is rich, and the people are eager to demonstrate their almost-sacred commitment to hospitality,” Stanton wrote in a 2012 statement.

As Congress debates and the world responds to the recent Iran nuclear deal after nearly two years of negotiations, Stanton’s trip to the nation could not have come at a better time.

“Brandon’s work has emerged as a great way of breaking media-propagated stereotypes against Iran and showing the real face of Iran to the world,” Iran’s Pendar magazine wrote after his last trip to Iran.

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Prior to his Iran trip, Stanton was in Pakistan, where he helped raise around $1.3 million through a remarkable seven-photo series depicting the struggle of a Pakistani female activist fighting against bonded labour.

Stanton set up an account for Syeda Ghulam Fatima, titled ‘Let’s help Fatima end bonded labour’, raising $1,302,440 for the Bonded Labor Liberation Front in just three days.

Although Stanton’s summer trip only included two countries this year, the astounding impact of his work so far and the unprecedented reactions from humans around the world to HONY’s posts is a much-needed restoration of hope in humanity and a beautiful achievement in itself.

Stanton has earned global fame for his touching, empathetic portraits of ordinary people, often accompanied with moving first-person stories

True to form, his posts so far convey very personal and familiar stories of regular folks, their daily lives, disappointments and dreams.

Humans of New York’s photographs of Iranians

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