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Mahmoud Pakzad's "Old Tehran"

12/5/06 By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Imagine a Tehran with not so many people, a few cars, wide empty streets and open fields bordering the road from the city centre to Tajrish, such that you could easily see the mountains in three directions if you stood on the boot of a car.

This is what it was like in the 1940's and 50's and this lovely sense of quietness, mixed with pleasure and nostalgia was greatly felt during an exhibition of photographs by the late Mahmoud Pakzad that opened recently at the Iranian Artists Forum in Iranshahr Avenue. The exhibition was due to the efforts of his daughter Behnaz and her husband, and it showed what it must have been like to live in Tehran then.

Mahmoud Pakzad was a well known photographer during the last century, and recorded many aspects of life in Tehran especially during the 1940's-1960's. He was a good friend of my father, Ahmad Mayel-Afshar, who was also one of the pioneers of modern photography in Iran.

In the past, when I was working at the family company, Mr Pakzad came often to visit me and his son who worked with us at the office and we had tea and lots of fun. Every new year he would send us all a Norouz card on one of his very famous black and white pictures of old Tehran.

Mahmoud Pakzad's major collection was put into a book by his family titled "Old Tehran"; when his book finally came out, he was no longer with us but the book will preserve his name and make us long for the good old traffic free streets, clean air and peace and quiet of old Tehran.

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