Einsicht, Drei Reisen in die innerste Welt des schiitischen Islam (Insight and Understanding: Three Journeys to the innermost world of Shī‛ism) is the title of a successful cultural exchange project between Germany and Iran. Given that a photo speaks more than thousands of words and that a camera is a means of knowledge for those who love to know, the project firstly presents a part of early history of photography, and secondly pays attention to the dialogue of cultures through the photographers lens and the language of art. Three journeys in the title refers to the voyage of Nasir al-Din Shah with his court photographer Reza Akkasbashi to Iraq (Najaf, Karbala and Samarra) in 1872; the trip of Muzaffar al-Din Shah’s photographers to Iraq in 1905 and the voyage of German well-known photographer Hans Georg Berger (2000- 2005) to religious schools of Iran in different cities including Qum, Mashhad and Isfahan. The project published a book (245 pages) with the same title and six exhibitions (of selected photos) will be held in the cities Mashhad, Tehran, Qum, Isfahan, Berlin and Freiburg.
The book includes six short essays and about two hundred selected photographs taken during these journeys. Among them are historical images of holy shrines in Iraq and Iran, old and new Shiite centers of training and education of religious students as well as numerous old and new portraits of those students and their professors. Most photographs, especially those taken from a balloon above the cities of Najaf, Karbala and Samarra in 1871, are of great importance in the history of photography. They attract the eyes of every specialist in the field and open their language to praise such a unique effort at the time. The historical photos come from the archive of Golestan Palace Tehran. The contemporary ones come from the archive of the photographer. The authors in their essays deal with old and new photos in accordance with their expertise, and with different views. This bilingual book (German and Persian) has two editors: Dr. Boris von Brauchitsch and Dr. Saeid Edalatnejad. The book was published in high quality and standard in September 2017 in Germany by KEHRER Verlag (ISBN 978-3-86828-818-6). The foreign ministry of Germany dedicates the book to those public and university Iranian libraries which request the book by paying the cost of mail from Berlin to the given cities. For ordering the book please click here.
The Iranian foreign ministry, the Organization of Islamic relations and culture as well as several non-governmental institutions support the holding of the exhibitions in those different cities. They are placed under the High Patronage of the National Commissions of UNESCO. The first exhibition is held on 6th October 2017 in Mashhad and welcomes the visitors until 21th October. The exhibition of Tehran will be held at Golestan Palace on the first of November. Qum opens on November 25, and Isfahan on December 20. In Berlin, the exhibition opens on January 12, 2018 at Bumiller Collection (University Museum Islamic Art). For the detail of the content of the book and the time table of other exhibitions, see the website www.tamasha96.com