From above

Photo essay: Georg Gerster's "Paradise Lost: Persia From Above"

by Georg Gerster
For the first time ever, 29 breathtaking aerial photographs of Persia by award-winning Swiss photographer Georg Gerster, taken in the immediate years before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, will be on exhibition at the Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery (LTMH) through April 21st, 2009. The works were recently compiled in the book, Paradise Lost: Persia From Above, edited by Maryam Sachs and published by Phaidon Press.  In the late 1970’s Gerster was granted permission by Her Majesty Empress Farah Pahlavi to record the Persian topography. It was a rare opportunity, resulting in vivid photographs that capture the rich Persian landscapes and city structures that few people outside the country have been able to experience. Once the Revolution broke out, however, Gerster’s plan to produce a book of these photographs was brought to an immediate halt. Nearly thirty years after their execution, the photographs were rediscovered by Maryam Sachs, who, with her stunning vision, finally brought the book project to fruition. She calls the book her “gift to all Persians;” and indeed, the gallery is thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce these photographs to audiences of all generations who are both familiar and unfamiliar with the Persian landscape. For additional images or information please contact Lauren Pollock at 212-249-7695 or


Nice Photos - Appalling Text - Ridiculous Title

by Archéologue (not verified) on

The amazing landscape, cities, ruins and historical monuments of Iran have been captured and recorded with such an excellent collection of aerial photographs which equal Erich Schmidt's pioneer aerial reconnaissance of Iran, published in 1940 (Flights Over Ancient Cities of Iran). The beauty of these images has been unfortunately somehow wasted by first the photographer's very personal, and - to some degree - offending account of his work in Iran, and second by the awkward organization of the book's content and text. It is really embarrassing to see a book exclusively on Iran with a table of contents which enlists the name of the Persian Gulf simply as "the Gulf" (the readers should wonder which Gulf?). The comble is when you see that the author of the text is an Iranian woman married to a Swiss. That is even worse when you find out that the book is dedicated to Farah Diba, the former queen of Iran!!! Ignorance or hypocrisy? Or both. It is really graceless. Even the title is silly: Paradise Lost! As someone well familiar with the terrain and all the sites represented in this book, I can say that the "paradise" is still there! I bought the book just for the sake of its wonderful images of Iran. Ignore the dull text, and let the images speak for themselves.


Dameh Georg Gerster Garm!

by Anonymous123 (not verified) on

Amazing shots. Regained shall be this Paradise.


Breathtaking is the right description

by ramintork on

Thanks for the posting. These pictures are so amazing they could inspire many works of Art.


Bringing the show to Northern Ca.

by Sid Sarshar on

Any chance of bringing this exhibit to Northern California?I think it would have a big following.I am open to help to make it happen.  I have always wanted to do aerial photography of Iran and was please to see these images.Sid Sarshar


Darius Kadivar

FYI/Shahbanou Farah with Author photographer Georg Gerster

by Darius Kadivar on


Her Majesty Empress Farah Pahlavi Celebrated Georg Gerster’s
Photographs from
Paradise Lost: Persia from Above at:
Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery, Saturday, April 4th - New York

See Photos at :



خدا پدر فرح پهلوی را بیامرزه


خدا پدر فرح پهلوی را بیامرزه که آنقدر فهم و شعور داشته که اجازه این عکسبرداری ها را بدهد که ما امروز بتوانیم این گنجینه با ارزش را نظاره گر باشیم.

فقط مجسم کنید یک عکاس خارجی امروز از ملاهای جمهوری اسلامی کسب اجازه کند که از هواپیما میخواهم از مملکت شما عکس بگیرم. فکر میکنید در چند دقیقه او را از ایران بیرون بیاندازند؟ آنهم بعد از تفتیش و سین جیم مفصل!

حالا شما همین را ملاک مقایسه قرار بدهید!




To : Ghaffar

by Bavafa on

Thanks, I appreciate it.

It is a kit plane, Vans RV7-A and yes I built it. It is an all metal, acrobatic plane and it has been a lot of fun so far.

Do you fly, I have been interested to meet some other Iranians that share the same interest.




by Anonymous-Alborzy (not verified) on

Well said, bravo!


Number 19

by Abarmard on

Number 19 shows the Iranian brilliance of conquering its nature. Man against nature. If you walk in that garden, you cannot imagine that beyond those borders is nothing but a desert. Amazing.


Lets call all the countries by their proper names

by ghalam-doon on

Well. I know this entry was about some aerial photos, but we have digressed. I don't buy the argument that we should call a country by its ancient name.

For example some might suggest we should call Turkey, Ottoman Empire. Or Italy, Roman Empire. 

All these empires are gone forever, same with the Persian Empire.

I know this argument will go nowhere and that's almost always the case with us, Iranians/"Persians." However it all depends on why we insist on using this term where most of the world is getting used to the term "Iran." My friend used to call himself "Persian" with a French accent. Could that be one of the reasons? We're not that comfortable with being in that corner of the world next to the "Pakis" and "Malakh-khors."  After all WE ARE PERSIANS with a glorious past.  We prefer to be somewhere in the "civilized" world, lets say in Western Europe somewhere?

And I think that's the irony about Iranians. It seems to me every nation in the world is quite comfortable about where they are right now in the world, even those nations with some imperial past. Do Italians or Turks think about their glorious past the same way that we do?  


PERSIA is not a racial term and should be retained

by Pejman7 on

It's true that "Persia" comes from "Pars" but through the history as it was used for whole country it became the Western name of Iran, noy just a province or ethnic group; like "Persian Carpet" which can be made in every region of our country. Meanhile IRAN means LAND OF ARYANS and many people in our country ARE NOT ARYAN ! So IRAN is also a racial term.

Most countries and languages have different names in other languages. For example, Germans call their language "Deutsch"; in English people say "German", and Persian-speaking people say "Almaani" (The Persian word Almaani comes from the French word "L'Allemagne"). People of Greece, Finland, India and Japan call their countries Hellas, Suomi, Bharat and Nippon in their respective languages. Similarly, the native name of "Persia" is Iran.

Since 600 BC, Greeks used the name "Persis" for Persia / Iran. Persis was taken from "Pars" (the name of the region where the Persian rulers lived). Persian people likewise used the name of "Younaan" (instead of internal term of "Hellas") for Greece. "Younan" in fact is taken from the name of "Lonia", in the south-east of Greece. "Persis" since then has been used as the name of Iran in all European documents, maps, etc. Only in later centuries did some Europeans (in view of their languages) changed it to "Persia" (English, Italian and Spanish), "La Perse" (French), "Persien" (German), etc. The name "Persia" until 1935 was the official name of Iran in the world, but Persian people inside their country since the Sassanian period have called it "Iran" meaning "the land of Aryans". They also used "Parsa" in the Achaemenids period.

In 1935, Reza Shah announced that all Western countries should use the name of "Iran" in their languages too. This act brought cultural damage to the country and separated Iran from its past in the West. Also, many people confused it with Iraq (an Arab state West of Iran). For many westerners, "Persia" became a dead empire that does not exist anymore.

After some Persian scholars protested this announcement, in 1959 Prof. Ehsan Yarshater made a committee to research this matter. The committee announced that "changing the name has not been right", so Mohammad Reza Shah announced that both 'Persia' and 'Iran' can be used interchangeably.

In my oponion the terms PERSIAN & PERSIAN present the historical indentity of Iran in Western languages and they should be retained by using them.

Abbas Zeineddin

We're not arguing - we're simply having a discussion

by Abbas Zeineddin on

Why do we have such a low tolerence for a discussion?  Calling it Persia or Iran doesn't make any of us more or less proud of our homeland.  Both sides could make plausible arguments for either names.  From my experience on, these back and forth bickerings could go on and become useless after a while, so this is the last you'll hear from me regarding the matter. 

Dear "Anonymous-iran (not verified)", none of us need a youtube video to educate ourselves about this issue.  Like I said, we all have our reasons to call our homeland Persia or Iran and ourselves Persian or Iranian.  Besides, with all due respect, I need a more credible source to at least consider your argument.  One last thing, please spell my name correctly next time.  All you had to do was copy and paste.  Thank you.


To: Bavafa

by Ghaffar (not verified) on

Nice plane you got. Is it a kit or your own design?
Did you build it yourself? Tell me more please.


Iran = Persia

by Anonymous-9999 (not verified) on

Some Iranians really need to educate themselves and know that both names refer to the same country which is Iran/Persia. The word Persian refers to all Iranians living in Iran/Persia from all ethnicities. Why some people think it is insulting to them to call our land Persia? It is our history and it is unchangeable.


Beautiful photos and well

by desi on

Beautiful photos and well said Gol-dust.


here we go again! instead of enjoying Iran, arguing about persia

by gol-dust on

You guys need to educate yourselves and put aside all these ego related issues. Iran or Persia is the same, both refering to the same land! Iran is not Egypt or Saudi and Persia, Russia!

What a wondeful and gorgeous place! I can see my ancestral land of Iran/Persia when I look at Kermanshah, Lorestan, Kordestan, Azarbayjan, Mazandaran and Pars, as far as I know! Who is to tell me that I am not Persian or Iranian? It all means the same thing: a proud nation and a highley suphisticated culture with gorgeous girls and land!  



by Anonymous-Mehran (not verified) on

I agree with Mr. Moshiri. Persian is referred to all people living in Iran from all ethnicities(ethnos).

Very primitive and childish to say:
But why some people don't understand by calling the land Persia, they insult many of our Iranian compatriots who happened not to be Persian?

Who is insulting whom?

"I totally agree with you. I get so irritated when Iranian refer to themselves as Persians. It alienates half of us".

Are you Iranian? If yes, then get used to it to be called PERSIAN because the civilized world refer to you as Persian and they don't care about your ethnicity. It is not hard to understand and you can not change the history for your own benefit or for the sake of some groups who want to divide us.


Ghalam doon & Abbas Zeindeddin

by Anonymous-iran (not verified) on

Here you can educate yourselves, please listen carefully.



Iran was reffered to as Persia by the westerners.

by پیام on

That's all it means. Kordestan, Lorestan, Azarbaijan etc... were all once part of a greater empire called the Persian empire ( again by westerners). It has always been and remains Iran to us Iranians. Persians ( Pars ha) are only one part of current Iran's inhebitants. As mentioned by others Iran consists of different ethnicities and one should be calling oneself Persian if one decends from Pars ( or Fars) people of central Iran. Otherwise one must reffer to oneself what one is, kord, Lor, Azari etc... or just call yourself Iranian ( I knnow it's not easy these days).


But we all are Iranians and that's why we visit :)

Abbas Zeineddin

To ghalam-doon

by Abbas Zeineddin on

I totally agree with you.  I get so irritated when Iranian refer to themselves as Persians.  It alienates half of us.  The text comes from the press release of the gallery, I believe.

To be fair, I think this title refers to the historical photos, hence the paradise lost of a place that was once called Persia.  Having said that, many of these pictures are not historical.  The reference to Farah Pahlavi is a bit too.  But one can't change history - this is the story of how these pictures came about.

I hope my explanation helps.  


Paradise Lost to whom?

by ghalam-doon on

I saw some pictures of Kermanshah and Kurdristan and Mazandaran. Are these places part of this so called Persia too? I don't know where the text at the begining of this entry comes from. But why some people don't understand by calling the land Persia, they insult many of our Iranian compatriots who happened not to be Persian?

Nice pictures though, and it's still a beautiful land.


Awesome pictures and so beautiful

by Bavafa on

I enjoyed the pix tremendously and wish one day I can view Iran from my own plane. I recently built a small plane and been enjoying flying it.

Here is the first test flight and landing






by پیام on

Never thought that my beloved land could have been photograffed in such manner, from above. It doesn't matter what angle one chooses to portrait Iran by, it is sheer beauty from any direction.



by Spaceman on

Thanks for sharing these amazing and extraordinary photo's with us.