Tabriz: A Step Back in Time    

Jaidol Eslam's photography museum

Rowshan's dad took us to visit a friend of his who is a photographer, Jaidol Eslam. His studio was in a typical brick building downtown. However, when we entered the studio it was like stepping into a different era. The main room was small but filled with antique cameras and photographic equipment-- most displayed in antique wooden cabinets with glass fronts and shelves. One wall was full of poster sized black and white portraits of famous Azeri artists, writers, and musicians, including Rowshan's dad.

He was playing a recording of old Iranian music. On the floor and furniture were antique kilims. The furniture itself was also antique. I sat facing a gramophone with a large horn. There was also an arrangement of musical instruments on the wall. Jaidol studied art in Tehran but in 1958 there was a “cultural revolution” and music and art were prohibited. He returned to Tabriz and eventually got a job teaching at the university. Perhaps this contributed to his desire to preserve culture and art. Aside from his camera collection, he also collects old photos of Iran's people and places and has walls of paintings in the other rooms of his studio (I just glanced in). He was a courteous gentleman with bright white curly hair-- the prominent feature on several caricatures he had of himself. As he and Rowshan's dad spoke together I could see why Rowshan's dad wants to return to Tabriz. It seems the city hides in inconspicuous corners artists and intellectuals who can escape to a lost time. Now it is replaced by speed of life and noise. The elegance is being lost. Jaidol is trying to get a museum permit and if he can't he plans to sell his collection and travel around the world. Therefor, he was especially interested in our trip.

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