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
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 is Federation editor of Red Cross, Red Crescent