Then He Said “Good Bye”

Whenever did I say how you are? He would reply with “not bad”! I never heard him say he was doing well. Thirty years ago, he had left Iran, his homeland. His name was Saadi, the same name as a famous Persian poet, and was born in an aristocratic family.
Saadi never let anyone pay for food and other stuff in parties and friend gatherings. He was dominant, kindful and sometimes angry. When someone asked for help, Saadi was going to help.
He would help young people get a job, gave money to friends who had problems. He was a Republican, but sometimes when he was angry he would curse both the Democrats and the Republicans, that’s what made him more lovely!
Several months ago, he realized that he had cancer when it had already taken over almost his entire body. Fighting was futile, but he spent five months trying to stay strong.
Our last visit was when I was on my way to Europe. He spoke with his eyes. I am sure he was great in this combat. Five months after the diagnosis he left us forever.
Saadi was my opponent for playing backgammon. Today I asked myself after Saadi; backgammon is never going to be pleasing for the rest of my life.

Hi I’m a Piglet

The sun is rising; I get up and take a shower. I look at my iPhone and, boom! I’m buried in the Middle East: the bloodshed by the extremists, beheadings, death, and Ebola. I read the news as I am driving while swigging the Starbucks coffee down.

I drowned in my outside world, but sometimes at night right when my eyelids get heavy for a split second, I feel how much I miss myself.

How lonely I have become. Please don’t tell me I have more than three thousand friends on Facebook and more than a thousand follow me on Twitter.

The pig inside me is lonely.

The pig inside me looks outside from behind bars, but he is a prisoner with a big unsightly lock on his cage.

The anticipating pig inside me, with all the filth around, is still lonely.

Someone will be serving me to a bunch of strangers on an Easter feast; lying in the middle of the table with a red apple in my mouth. Then, at best, they will admire my taste and that how well I was prepared.

They would never know the pig inside me would have liked to be outside of his cage someday.

© Ardavan Roozbeh

A memorial for Vetrans


May 29, 2017 – Washington, DC, U.S – The National Memorial Day Parade will be held today in Washington, D.C. America celebrated those who have sacrificed for their country at the National Memorial Day Parade. The parade was organized by the American Veterans Center and World War II Veterans Committee. This year’s theme is ”Saluting our Military and Fallen Heroes from the American Revolution Through Iraq and Afghanistan.”..This year’s parade will also feature a special tribute the World War II generation, commemorating the 75th anniversary of WWII.

© Ardavan Roozbeh

Seeing Something Else

I agreed with an orphanage house on photographing its resident children; kids who were either abandoned by their parents or had no parents at all.

In the end, however, the photos that I submitted to the orphanage manager were different than the ones I kept for myself.

The photos I kept did not only reflect what was physically happening in them, but they also showed my thinking while I was taking them: lives full of distortion, doubt, anxiety, and fear. Fear of the uncertain tomorrow that would offer them only ambiguity and not much else.

© Ardavan Roozbeh

I’m a Sentient

On an autumn day, the directors* of the Mashhad’s Care Facility for the Acute Mentally Disabled Girls asked me to visit them. Most of the girls had been abandoned by their parents on street corners and were brought by somebody to this charity center. Some unfortunate ones had spent many years in quarantine.
I did not know what to expect. When I got there, the shift supervising nurse alerted me to the fact that seeing the disabled youth maybe somewhat hard to stomach. That worried me a bit, but I had already decided to go through with the visitation.
They led me to a two hundred square meter salon where the girls stayed. There stood beds, each surrounded by long metal bars and in those beds, each occupying child ate, slept and answered the nature’s call.
This type of life is called a vegetative growth. Those kids had no concept of how much -and what to eat. They ate anything they were given even if that ended up killing them. You could try teaching them, but they had extreme difficulty learning.
For three consecutive months after my initial visit, I made it a daily errand of mine to see those girls right after work, especially the quarantined ones. I found out that, despite their vegetative states, they understood things and had things to say. They wanted to protest and shout but could not.
I mainly got close to one quarantined girl and took nearly a thousand photo of her in those three months. Feeling-wise, the last picture that I took of her was by far the most difficult. One day, I got to the center and found out that, after many years of suffering, she had passed away only five minutes before my arrival. On that day, I had a vision of her surrounded by rays of light.
© Ardavan Roozbeh

* The center is managed by a charitable husband and wife couple, both doctors. Their only source of funding to shelter and feed the girls is through individual contributions.

Portrait of the Soul

These children were to be photographed for their school identification cards. So on a set day, they were gathered in the schoolyard, and we began the work. When we finished, I realized that their laughter and joy was much more valuable to be reflected on their ID cards.

So here they are…

© Ardavan Roozbeh

Women’s March, Here is Washington DC

Jan 21, 2017 – Washington, District of Columbia, the U.S. – Women’s March attended by an estimated 1,000,000 demonstrators in the capital area.

© Ardavan Roozbeh

Supreme Court, Scalia’s Ceremony

Supreme Court Justices make the sign of the cross during prayers at a private ceremony in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, where late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia lies in repose. In back, from left are, Counselor to the Chief Justice Jeffrey Minear, and Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan, Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr., Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor.
© Ardavan Roozbeh

Trump Presidential Inauguration Protests

Jan 20, 2017 – Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. – Protesters and others sit by a fire in the street as police and demonstrators clash in downtown Washington following the inauguration of President Donald Trump on January 20, 2017, in Washington, DC. Washington and the entire world have watched the transfer of the United States presidency from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, the 45th president.
© Ardavan Roozbeh


Candlelight vigil for Tehran, in front of White House

On Wednesday, the people of Iran experienced terrorist attacks on the Iranian Parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini, killing 12 and injuring 42 people. Not long after the terrorist attacks on London, the world is facing yet another violent affront to peace.

NIAC condemns these acts of terror and stands in solidarity with our Iranian brothers and sisters back home. Join us for a candlelight vigil to stand against this act of hate with love for our people and community.

© Ardavan Roozbeh

Living a Manly Lifestyle

Our daily habits are an integral part of our personality. From a judgmental point of view, some practices are good, and some are bad. Yet, they are still indicative of who we are.
A manly lifestyle is nothing but a subset of those ordinary daily occurrences that may, or may not; happen to a man. That’s all.
What do you think? Is there a difference between the lifestyles of women and men? Take a look…
© Ardavan Roozbeh

Mass Grave in Afghanistan

These photos are from a mass grave in Shindand district, Herat province in western Afghanistan. In it, there are the buried bodies of children, women, and men coming back home from Iran.
America led coalition forces had just obliterated the Taliban nearly a week ago. As of fleeing, the Taliban who according to their doctrinal beliefs considers killing Shiites a religious good deed buried alive -in mass graves, and only in a few days- a large number of Hazara’ citizens. Their crimes? Being Shiite and being there at the time: that’s all.
Many of these people were returning home from abroad when they were identified and buried alive by the Taliban forces. Winter of 2004.
© Ardavan Roozbeh

Anti Israeli Aggression Demonstration

Anti Israeli Aggression Demonstration at Trafalgar Square, London
Just hours after the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon, anti-aggression groups poured into the streets of central London to protest this latest Israeli act.
The demonstration – a surprising alliance of the opposite-unified almost all the Lebanese political and civil society activists: Naked girls, wearing only bras, carrying the Shiite Hezbollah flag, fashionable London girls posing with photos of Ayatollah Khomeini, burqa, and veil wearing girls alongside boys dressed in the latest fashions al side by side. Summer of 2004
© Ardavan Roozbeh

A Frame, A Firefighter

To illustrate this concept, I chose to photograph my subjects in a studio environment.
These photos show a male firefighter in full gear and a female paramedic with the equipment necessary to resuscitate patients with heart problems. The colors are highlighted to place more emphasis on the subjects. Direct flashlight on faces and color saturation were the essential tools used in this project. I have tried to illustrate that firefighters are above and beyond ordinary people. At the same time, anyone with the right attitude and stamina can become a firefighter. A-Frame, A Firefighter, is a collection of hand-picked photos from more than 100 shots taken in the studio.
© Ardavan Roozbeh

How Do You Feel Now?

Iran is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which calls for the abolition of death penalty.
The judiciary laws in Iran are, however, an amalgamation of international and Islamic Shari’a laws. One of these rules is the “Retribution” law and is used by the Iranian Criminal Justice system to circumvent the article. True, there are no death sentences issued in Iran. Instead, the judges take the retribution rout for punishing the convict by moving the law from the societal to the individuals, domain. This affords the victim’s family the right to seek retribution either by having the authorities kill the killer or demanding other kinds of compensation, as they deem fit.
The photos below show the public execution in Iran of a 32-year-old man who had raped and murdered eleven women. Invoking the Retribution Law, his victims’ families demanded his execution. And a death sentence by hanging was issued. His lawyers appealed the conviction and were denied, three times. He was executed on a sultry winter day in 2005, at a locale close to where he killed his last victim.
A few minutes before his execution, I asked him how he felt.
“I’m terrified of the thought that I’ll shortly meet all my eleven victims in the other world.” He said.

© Ardavan Roozbeh