A vibrant portrait of Iran combining documentary realism with visual poetry.

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IRAN BEFORE...

The soulful Iran of a half-century ago comes to life in these luminous photographs.

Briskin was a Peace Corps volunteer in Iran in the late 1960s and took many black-and-white photos in the capital, Tehran, and the cities of Arak, Kashan, Hamadan, Esfahan, and Qom. His various subjects illustrate an older, poorer, less urbanized Iran of small villages and modestly scaled towns powered by animals and human sweat. Many of the images capture everyday work: a barefoot man straining to push a cart piled high with watermelons, a porter teetering along with a platter of food on his head, a silversmith carving a delicately filigreed design of an ancient Persian winged bull on a tray, a youth welding a window grate without face mask or gloves to protect him from the geyser of sparks. There are quiet pastoral scenes of shepherds with their flocks and boys threshing hay as well as bustling scenes of shoppers in bazaars and crowds thronging religious festivals. Women appear, working in headscarves and practical trousers in the countryside and shrouded in demure chadors in cities. And there are numerous grand shots of mosques, with vast arches opening onto cavernous interiors that dwarf worshippers kneeling in prayer. Briskin’s photos are visually striking and have a near-palpable texture. One can almost feel the gnarled, rough-hewn surfaces of a grindstone and wooden axle in a mill or the decorative tiles bubbling out of a mosque wall. The region he photographs is a semiarid plateau, and the landscape of billowing, rocky hillsides is a singular presence in his exterior shots. The ambient light is even more extraordinary in his interiors. Many photos depict dramatic contrasts of dim, shadowed workshops, arcades, and mosque spaces pierced by dazzling shafts of sunlight. The people he photographs are endlessly fascinating—absorbed in their labors; lost in religious transports; trudging through snowdrifts; staring back at the camera with expressions that convey boredom, tension, wariness, and occasional flashes of joy.

A vibrant portrait of Iran combining documentary realism with visual poetry.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73409-880-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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