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A lifelong impression

Iranian photographer Behzad Firouzi


Photography for the Iranian-born Behzad Firouzi is about more than capturing the moment. As he explains, "Photography allows the contemporary man to freeze a moment in life and look at it to better understand the reality and truth in his physical and spiritual world."

In this collection of images, Firouzi focuses on displaced Afghans living in two camps in the Nimruz province in November 2001. The camps are home to over 20,000 people seeking refuge from the combined effects of war and drought. Life here is focused on survival rather than dreams. Firouzi asks the viewer to look in the eyes of the people who live in the camps: "Can you read any future? Do they have a past? These are the eyes of mother-woman in every stage of life: unyielding, meaning, full of future, even when there is none."

Firouzi is a long-time Iranian Red Crescent staff member and photographer. Currently, he is directing the Red Crescent museum in Tehran devoted to chronicling the work of the National Society through art. His hope is that by raising awareness within Iran of the tragedies and suffering of humanity at home and abroad, he might be able to lessen the pain of the victims or prevent more from being inflicted.

But Firouzi is growing tired. He explains his original enthusiasm for photography as a way in which to see through "subterranean eyes or, as we say in Persian, to watch with four eyes". But documenting the major events in the region has blurred Firouzi's vision. Today he grows despondent with what there is to see: war, mass population movements, earthquakes, floods, drought. As he explains, "I have seen too much that even with just two eyes I am fed up."

Jean Milligan
Jean Milligan is Federation editor of Red Cross, Red Crescent magazine.

 

 

This young boy was born and raised in a camp for displaced Afghans. Today he and his family are considering returning to a home he has never known.

Childhood is shortlived for girls in the camps. With few opportunities to go to school, they must assume early on numerous household responsibilities.

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