Telex Iran: In the Name of Revolution • Gilles Peress • Magnum Photos

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Telex Iran: In the Name of Revolution

Gilles Peress's seminal publication documents life under the Iranian regime during the late 1970s including the American Embassy hostage crisis

Gilles Peress

Gilles Peress Demonstration in favor of the leading opposition figure Ayatollah Kazem Shariatmadari. Tabriz, Iran.1980. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos

Telex Iran is an extraordinarily personal document of a public event. The photographs Gilles Peress took over a five-week period during 1979-1980 focus on the seizure of the American embassy and a number of hostages in Tehran by student proxy groups of the new Iranian regime.

Gilles Peress Demonstration in a stadium. Tabriz, Iran. 1979. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress Streets of Azerbaijan. 1979. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress Supporters of opposition figire Ayatollah Kazem Shariatmadari. Azerbaijan. 1979. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress Arms market. Kurdistan, Iran. 1979. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos

However, the book forms neither a study nor an analysis of that singular event. Peress’ photographs do not purport to tell the story – any story – but are the nearly seismographic record of the photojournalist’s perceptions, encounters, and not least, his emotions as he moves through the city and the countryside of a nation in upheaval.

Gilles Peress Mother and child. Qom, Iran. 1979. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos

Involved one day, alienated the next; insightful in Tabriz, at sea in Qom; attracted to one subject, repelled by another, Telex Iran beats out the raw rhythms of Iran’s dislocations, both historical and individual.

Gilles Peress Savak agents on trial at Evin prison. Tehran, Iran. 1979. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos
Gilles Peress Addicts in the Gumruch neighborhood. Tehran, Iran. 1979. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos

First published in 1984, this exceptionally designed book established Gilles Peress’ reputation as a photojournalist. The reissue of Telex Iran in 1997 shows that these photos only gain impact with Iran’s continuing role as a key player in the Middle East.

Gilles Peress Clergy present grievances to Revolutionary government. Azerbaijan. 1979. © Gilles Peress | Magnum Photos