Forugh Farrokhzad was one of the most renowned Persian contemporary artist. Famous for her poetry, in a conservative male society, she fought all her life for the emancipation of women, matter always to the heart of her work. She had hard times, especially after her divorce when she was disallowed the right to custody of her son. Her poetry is fulfilled with her own loneliness and her difficulties to find a serene place in Iran of the 50’s and 60’s. She has also been widely acclaimed for her wonderful documentary film, in 1963, about a leprosy colony : « The house is black ». Forugh Farrokhzad died prematurely in a car accident in 1967, at the age of 32.
The title of the book refers to her conception of « garden » which is often present in her poems amongst which, a beautiful one titled « Rebellion », about the predominance of men in the Tehran society, ending with the verses :
Come forth and release me
to the clear, pristine heights of poetry
should you allow me this flight
my rose will adorn the garden of poetry.
The metaphor of her death is her access to freedom and now, « she » was planted to adorn the garden of poetry.
On the other side, Yahya Dehghanpour, a young photographer in 1967, already involved in the cultural life of Tehran. He will leave Iran a few years later to study photography at the San Francisco Art Institute during the 70’s and will come back in Iran where he will teach photography in various Universities, and influence numerous generations of Iranian photographers. He appears to be a major figure of Iranian photography, even if it is almost impossible to find any information about him. One of the only references is an exhibition of the series from this book, at the Silk Road Art Gallery in Tehran in 2009.
So this book is made of an early work rediscovered recently by its author. A series made at a time when the death of Forugh Farrokhzad was a tragedy for the cultural society of Tehran, and when Yahya Dehghanpour, 25 years old, decided to document the funeral. The book shows the funeral ceremony, and the sequencing seems to show a complete series which build a particular atmosphere with various moments of tension. We follow the body through the city with emotion, a white hearse, flowers and people coming from everywhere. We are in the crowd, to share grief and sadness. Our sight becomes blurry and so are some photographs, which emphasize the dark and sad ambiance. All photographs are square with white margins, one per page with some alternating white pages, and there are three main chapters, each one introduced by a double page detail of a photo. The first part is the funeral procession in town, the second one is the arrival of the body at the cemetery and the third part is the burial and people around the grave.
The book comes with a small accordion booklet which is the reproduction of an installation of large prints in order to identify people who wrote their names by hand in the margin. This piece of work becomes a wonderful documentation with the entire intellectual elite from Tehran, who came to pay their last tribute!
Hardcover book, 23 x 23,5 cm, with a very sober and elegant black cover with a negative white square, and the title, the date and the name of the photographer. 95 pages with 57 black and white photos. Persian and English text by Mehran Mohajer.
Publisher site : https://www.facebook.com/ManooshPublication
Another very good review of the book : https://collectordaily.com/yahya-dehghanpour-the-day-she-was-planted-in-the-garden/
And just for pleasure her film « The house is black »