"Paradise Lost, Persia from Above", a collection of 14 large fine art prints taken by Swiss aerial photographer Georg Gerster, opened April 7 at the Wilmotte Gallery in London. Between 1976 and 1978, Gerster was given rarely granted permission to record the landscape of Iran. The pictures included in this unique archive were gathered from over 100 different flights.
The collection contains spectacular images of ancient citadels, desert ruins, and rice fields spreading like a vast patchwork quilt in a river delta. There are many unexpected sights, such as the bird's-eye view of a crowded ski resort in the Alborz Mountains, within easy reach of Tehran. The exhibit will run until May 20 at the Wilmotte Gallery in the Lichfield Studios shows.
"Flying on business over Iran, I had been struck by the thought that Persia's natural and cultural landscape was predestined to be viewed from the air, with its salt deserts, gardens like slices of paradise, and waterless wind-sculpted wastelands. Its settlements are textbook examples of architecture without an architect, and the qanats, underground aqueducts, form graphic patterns," he explains in his website.
"The idea of the bird's eye view certainly wasn't incongruous: the Homa, half eagle, half bird of paradise, is a mythical beast of Persian mythology, a harbinger of good fortune. On October 12, 1975, I delivered a letter by hand in Tehran, suggesting that I should produce a book, 'Persia through the eyes of the Homa'.
Bagh-e Shahzadeh Near Mahan, Iran 1977
Fujicolor crystal archive gloss paper
22 x 30 in / 56 x 76 cm
"Between April 11, 1976 and May 30, 1978, I made more than a hundred flights, completing 300 flying hours. Our planning took into consideration the change of the seasons, as far as was possible, which brought some wonderful discoveries: spring in the Azerbaijan highlands is one of the most beautiful spectacles this earth has to offer."
Gerster (b.1928) is a pioneer of aerial photography. For over 40 years, he has taken breathtaking pictures of mountains and deserts, coasts and lakes, spectacular archaeological sites and ancient monuments, agrarian and industrial landscapes in 111 countries on all continents, covering all types of territory from the Amazon to Antarctica. Based near Zurich, Switzerland, he also works as a journalist, and is a regular contributor to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and National Geographic.
See more photos here: Paradise Lost: Persia From Above
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