Saturday, March 08, 2008

Longing for home

Late last year I made a slideshow incorporating some photos I had made in Iran. I had made it primarily for friends, and assumed that it would not be of particularly great interest to anyone. How wrong I was! Recently it exploded in popularity, with tens of thousands of people viewing it.



The feedback I received from Iranians living abroad was encouraging. Some said how they were moved to tears. Some talked of their childhoods, and others of their planned trips home. From this I realized expatriates can be very much moved by images of their homeland, especially by imagery which is outside the mainstream that they can easily see everyday.

I had originally hosted the website on which this slideshow is located on a webserver in Aotearoa New Zealand, using the company OpenHost NZ. I found their service to be excellent, and I can highly recommend them. There was a problem, however. Given the bandwidth constraints of hosting a website in NZ, I had to quickly find a hosting provider outside of NZ. OpenHost NZ worked constructively with me and I found a new one in the US, where bandwidth limits are practically non-existent in comparison.

49 comments:

Matthew Thomas Miller said...

Damon,

Thank you for your thoughtful critique of my critique of "The Kite Runner." I am sorry that i didnt see it earlier. If you send me your email, I will send you a response to clarify a few of the issues you raised. Either way, thank you for taking the time to respond.

Peace,
Matthew Miller
matthew.thomas.miller@gmail.com

sara meli said...

Dear Damon,

I know that you have already been through this topic, but still I wanted to tell you--as an Iranian-American, I, too, was moved to tears by your slideshow. I am half American, half Iranian and in my twenties; because of certain political complications, I have been unable to travel to Iran yet, though still I continue to work towards that goal. When I saw the the little girls in your slideshow, or the children sitting on the bench in the water, I recognized myself in their faces. Your slideshow was a beautiful reminder of my other walled-off half, the half of me that feels a dream-like longing and a tightening of my chest when, for instance, I hear Iranian music. I sent your sweet creation to my cousin, who fled Iran as a political refugee when he was 12. Now he lives in the United States, and is not allowed to return to Iran. He has not seen his parents since he was 12. At the sight of your slideshow, he cried too, for although he looks at pictures of Iran nearly every day, you put them together with such care and skill, and with such lovely music, that they took on an added dimension of spirituality which normally we do not see. Watching your slideshow allowed him to access feelings of pain and loss for the immediate family and the land that he loves and will maybe never see again. Watching your slideshow helped him, in a bittersweet way, to revive memories long-since buried of things and people he had loved in Iran. Memories are no good to us dead and buried; it is better to keep them alive and to carry them with us through the day.

There is nothing more to say, but thank you, thank you--now and always, thank you.

mohsen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mohsen said...

thanks man, I really enjoyed it. this should be appreciated to still have such guys like you who are thinking to human beings regardless of politics.
God bless Iran, God bless America, God bless peace.

siavash said...

on behalf of all Iranians I thank you for creating this slide show. although this is not the real life in Iran! as you have probably seen the level of living is not this low in my country. It would be great if you have put some better photos. Anyways, man! thank you again. the world would be a better place if there were more people like you!
Thumps up. Keep up the awesome work;)

Reza said...

This slide show is fantastic and very emotional. I pretty much enjoyed wwatching it. As a mild criticism, I would say this shows pictures from Iran which would be more unexpected for a western eye. So, Someone who only sees this images would have a different understanding from Iran which is not quite realistic. But it does not change the face that this is a very nice work of art, and what a good choice of music!

Amir said...

Damon,

Many thanks for this great job! Your nice slide show and the great background song moved me to tears as you said, being away from my family, friends, and beloved country IRAN for four years...

Today is the beginnings of Iranian New Year, Norooz, and I wish wish a happy and prosperous new year full of joy, beauty, and success for you and all wonderful people around the world.

Mahdi

Ehsan said...

Dear Damon

Thank you for your great slide. great pictures with very fabulous music. me and my wife are studying in usa now. some of my American friends wand to know more about iran. your slide is good idea for this matter. I wish you the best

Ehsan
eghotbi@uwm.edu

Amir said...

It's wonderful. c'était magnifique. continuez votre chemin vers le but. bonne courage.
Amir Irani (France)

Mahdi said...

Hey Damon
Sideshow looks great, well done.
you have properly shown the emotional side of Iran, let's think about domestic view as well, people around the world may get shocked watching today's Tehran pictures.
Art is effective; it could be serving to achieve peaceful life for all human beings, Keep it up!

sam said...

Dear Damon
Thank you very much for build agraet slideshow about my country,Now I live in Canada but my mind still in iran,and always I am wory about my people that they love peace.

Ali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ali Ghadimi said...

Damon
Could I have your email?

mine is: jandagh(AT)gmail

OMiD Naeemaei said...

hi,

great to meet a real human lover.

good luck

ali agha said...

you saw that places ? yes but i can't see ,because of poverty

Shahram said...

Damon,

Fantastic and well-done. Everything has been said in the comments. I just could not pass by without leaving a thank you note (in tear of course). Congratulation on your degree and hope you visit back when the conflicts resolve.

آمیر said...

Well...I'm living in Iran. it's funny that it seems that you as an American person, a considerate one ofcourse,know my country better than me. your work was so astonishing and very impressive that I found myself to be about to tear considering that I'm not that nationalist or something.
It's very nice to meet you. (virtually though!)
Thanks, thanks,and that's the only thing i can say right now.

سنگ شکسته said...

thanks damon for your pic

GHasedak said...

thanks.

leila said...

I live in Esfahan-Iran and I moved to tear too. I saw the slides so many times and that was perfect. I guess it reminds us all of PEACE.
thank u so much

Leila

آدم said...

Hello Damon
I am an Iranian girl and I find here so accidently.
Dear I had tears while watching your slide show, don't have anywords but Thank you!
That was one of the best and REAL views of my country.
Without any special political or religious view, you saw us as what we are.
Best of lucks for you,

Zahra

Farnaz said...

I cried a lot with this slideshow. I'm Iranian and currently I live in Netherlands...And this wonderful song of Alireza Eftekhari...I miss every inch of my beloved country...A country which in all of its unknown places I had the nice feeling of home... The only place which means home for me...Thank you Damon!

Mohammad said...

Dear Damon,

On behalf of all iranian, I want to say thank you for taking such beautiful, unique photographs from my country Iran. In fact, we were looking for such an opportunity to introduce our country ,the country of our ancestor Cyrous who was the pioneer in spreading peace around the world, and our good-hearted people to all people around the world. We want all people know that our politicians and our governors are completely different from our people. God bless Iran. God bless America. God bless peace.

mar mar said...

Dear Damon,
Thanks a lot for your wonderful slideshow. I received the link of this slideshow in an email from one of my friends in Iran for Nowrooz(our new year). I watched it over and over and cried.
Thanks again for sharing your nice pictures with us.

Maryam said...

Dear Damon

It’s been really great to find such a wonderful blog which tries to show other side of my people’s life to me, living in Tehran; lemme consider it my Nowruz gift from you.
I just want to admit here that your pics made me very angry at first and though you again, like many others, are gonna have a negative look towards my country and my people, showing some nomads, poor, faraway villages and…but after a day ,I thought abt myself, my relatives, my aunt and uncle and many others who r now living in one of that small villages .i just thought with myself that they’ve never been poor or a bunch of hillbillys ;instead I deeply feel happy while being with them.cuz im not gonna pretend abt what im not or be worry abt what I wear ,I say or do .hope u can get what I mean.
Altogether, ur pics just reminded me how im stuck in everydayness.

Keep goin’man cuz ur job is great.
Hope to see u again in Iran
Maryam-Tehran

seebche said...

Hello
I saw it. very nice
u can count on me,if intrested mail me.
s.tchehrazi@gmail.com

Peyman said...

Dear Damon,

I was blown away by all that beauty.
I haven't been away from my beautiful homeland for very long and I can go back anytime I wish.
As an Iranian-Canadian - who's away from home for the same reason as many many others are, I just want to tell you that i can't thank you enough. They made me burst into tears. I'm sure that you enjoyed being there and doing that... and all that, is set to that mesmerizing, ethereal song.
Thank you very much brother and God bless you.

latifiran@hotmail.com said...

Dear Damon
I accidentally found your slideshow “ Iran “ then decided to introduce it to all my fellow citizens .I put that on “ Balatarin “ which is most popular common website for Iranian blogers. Fortunately they found it fantastic, and very emotional and very artistic. They appreciatively wrote many of friendly and emotional comments (in Persian language)
Also I wrote your weblog’s address asking the viewers to express their feeling in the English on. So far 1500 Iranian weblogers have viewed your slide show.
I would like to take this point and say a very thank you to you!
Latif
PS
The address of your slide show on “Balatarin” is :
http://balatarin.com/permlink/2008/3/20/1255633
My weblogs address (History and Geography) is
www.tavajo.blogfa.com
My email is
latifiran@hotmail.com

Sajjad said...

hi
Thank you for this link : http://asianreflection.com/slides/iran/

--
www.sajjad.ir
www.sajjadpage.tk

afshin said...

hi
thank you for great slide.
ای مردم من انگلیسی بلد نیستم
چه کارکنم ؟
یکی به جای من هم از این اقا تشکر کنه
باشه؟
goodbye

amir said...

Dear Damon :

I visit your blog today for the first time.That was a great presentation about my homeland Iran.Good Job
I hope meet you someday and appreciate for your works about peace


Regards,
Amir

vahid said...

yes....great.
i canot see all of trailer and pics...but in first page its was very nice.
just i can say thanks man God bless u man.
takecare always and goodluck. Q};-
vahid

Adel said...

Nostalgic, real, yet heartwarming and hopeful.

Thank you very much.

aris said...

Special Tanks for your amazig clip.I am persian and apreciate your job. Your are an special man and wish you sucseed in your dreams.

love you

aris said...

Special Tanks for your amazig clip.I am persian and apreciate your job. Your are an special man and wish you sucseed in your dreams.

love you

reza said...

Mr domon

i know you are a kind of nice people around a world who lives in these days. you have nice view from our country and its very appreciating job.

i hope if we had good government ,we could show our country to the world people

i should say thank you very much for making this clip

Reza

iraniansbloggers said...

Very very thank you for your honesty & love to iranian people.

only :
I LOVE YOU
☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺
I ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ U
BehnamFirozi@Gmail.com

farzaneh said...

hi dear Demon,
Accidentally I searched the news in one of our Iranian sites and then i found your slide show in one of them.that was really great especially with the great song of one of our singers.just i wanna to say that your goal is really great and i hope our people (Iran & USA) have a good relationship with each other.thank you very much Dear Demon.

shahrzad said...

Damon,

The pictures by themselves are so great. The music of the slide show is also fantastic. But I think it would be more fair and appropriate to have some pictures showing the developments in Iran too. I dont know what your real aim of these pictures is. But certainly if you want to show real Iran, thats not the way

bahoone said...

Hi dear
it was a nice clip
i hope u had a good time while u were in Iran. And I hope with this clip people around the world would see Iranian are not barbaric as some Tv channels have shown.

Mehdi - مهدی said...

hey dude, I'm really glad that you tried to get a clear picture of Iran. To be honest, most of the media stuff I've seen so far about Iran was not fair either so overestimating and understimating, but your was kind of fair, somehow a little underestimating, but a lot closer to the truth.
I am an Iranian myself and I live in Stockholm, I'd be glad to talk to you about it if you can give me a time :)
I can call you on your cell or fixed line over there in the states , so we can have a little talk about it.
Formerly I helped one of my friends, a Belgian guy to make a documentary about Iran.
wish you all the best,
Mehdi.

Omid said...

VERY NICE
THANK YOU

Omid
Germany

Modern Saint said...

I loved your work. I love Iran.

harc987 said...

thanks for this slide...

Meghdad said...

It is a great job. But not completely correct. I have wondered that as a westerner you like to show only strange things in Iran.
If you look at more closely to your country you can find a lot of strange things in the normal life and in your culture.
What you have indicated in your pictures is not incorrect but it is not every things.
When others watch it they may think that Iran is completely backward country. But you were there and you saw that in a lot of parts of Iran the quality of life is much better than all western countries which are just a dream for westerner to have that kind of life.
However, even reach societies have poor members. and it is not nice for the human socity at all.
I mean that your work was nice but your manner as a westerner is wrong and that is why we can not trust western countries,
please be honest when you are to show something.

Damon Lynch said...

@Meghdad:

It's not a comprehensive sociological essay on contemporary Iran. It's not a representative survey of social classes in Iran. It's a work of art.

Moreover, it might be a surprise to you that some of the people I've featured in the photos of rural areas have a real choice where they want to live and where they want to be when they die. Some people actually strongly prefer to live in rural areas, including in tents, rather than in the city or in a house. I know this because I've talked with them. I encourage you to do the same.

And as for me personally, I have zero interest in photographing shopping malls, expensive cars, etc.

Meghdad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meghdad said...

I have posted a comment a lot of time, but I don't know how they have been deleted. However, it is not a very democratic way as you might believe it. ;)

Damon Lynch said...

Sorry, but I don't delete posts here. It says that you deleted it. If you didn't do that, I guess there must be some kind of problem with blogger. I've not seen a problem like this before.