Thursday April 17, 2014

Staging death in Iran: photographer re-creates scenes of historical infamy

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A re-creation of the death of Iranian activist Bijan Jazani, who was executed under questionable circumstances (Photo: Azadeh Akhlaghi)

It's a photography series featuring scenes of brutal confrontation, assassinations, and torture. In "By An Eyewitness," Azadeh Akhlaghi painstakingly re-creates 17 infamous deaths from Iran's modern history, all from an age before the prevalence of camera phones and social media.

She drew inspiration from the death of Neda Agha Soltan, who was shot dead during the 2009 Iranian election protests, an event that was captured on cellphone video by bystanders and seen all over the world.

"[Her death] made me think of all the freedom fighters who died without having the chance to have their pictures captured on camera," Ms. Akhlaghi told Carol.

A recreation of the shooting of three students at Tehran University on Dec. 7, 1953. They were killed by Iranian police after protesting the visit of then Vice-President Richard Nixon. Every year local and national demonstrations occur to commemorate the anniversary of the event, called "Student Day." (Photo: Azadeh Akhlaghi)
June 29, 1976 - Hamid Ashraf was the leader of the Organization of Iranian People's Fedai Guerrillas (OIPFG). He lead the guerrilla warfare campaign against the Pahlavi regime, and was killed by Iranian police after trading gunfire. In the Mehrabad house fight, besides Ashraf, ten other high-ranked guerillas were killed. (Photo: Azadeh Akhlaghi)

Hear Carol's full interview with Azadeh Akhlaghi by selecting the "Listen" button.