Create: Books I Love, Telex Iran

One of my most memorable moments in photography was meeting Gilles Peress. This meeting came late in my career, but as you will see and hear, my initiation to Gilles and his work goes back to the very beginnings of my life as a photographer.

That fateful day during my time at university. The bookstore. Finding Telex Iran and being baffled by the style, the composition, and the collection of intimate imagery combined with the cutting simplicity of the telex. And seeing Iran in a way that most Americans had not.

Telex Iran is a hard book come by, and for this I am sorry. But take your time and get in front of these pages however you can. The library would my first suggestion. In addition, study Gilles Peress and what he has been able to accomplish. This book of his is one of many and all of them are worth your time and energy.

17 Comments on “Create: Books I Love, Telex Iran”

  1. Yes it was absolutely worth it!

    I’ve been hunting for a copy of Telex Iran for a good couple of years now. Can’t get it in the library here, and every copy that I’ve seen for sale is like $700 (!!!). So this is like gold.

    Thanks for taking us through this. Wish there were a few more spreads…. perhaps you could do a few more with Farewell to Bosnia? Pleeeease?

    1. Charlene,
      Okay, I’ll add a few more in. I never know how an author, or publisher, is going to react to me doing these films. So, I err on the safe side but showing little and trying to tie in some personal angle. And with Gilles that was easy. The rest of the book will haunt you. And just imagine what it was like to be a stranger working inside Iran at that time. Crazy.

  2. Well worth it! Just went on the Magnum site to look at more. Truly amazing work. Checked my local library…nothing! Checked Amazon…4 used from over a thousand dollars. will keep my eyes open for this!

  3. That book does look amazing. That photo you highlighted – powerful, but I can see why you thought two different images. “I’m not responsible for this, I did not do this to the book. My friend did it. He is rotten and should probably go to jail.” Laughed pretty good there.

    Speaking of goofy backpacks…any Shifter readers have suggestions on a good minimalist backpack for some camera gear and ideally an extra layer of clothing? I’m on the seemingly forever quest for the right bag. I like my ThinkTank messenger bag, but I think my back is asking me to go to a backpack full time. I’m convinced messenger bags can be bad for posture.

    Will be interested to hear whether you prefer the Sony of the X-T4 for these features.

    1. Scott,
      Wait for a few weeks on the bag. Might have some info for you on something new. I use a Cotopaxi bag with a camera insert inside. This is NOT a photography bag with it weighs nothing and with the insert there is plenty of protection. I like the philosophy of the brand as well. I actually have three of their bags and they are all awesome.

      1. Oh wow, digging that Cotopaxi site. Repurposed fabrics and concern for employees? Heck yea. Can’t wait to hear about the other possible bag, but regardless, probably a Cotopaxi in my future. Lord knows I could use some color in my life.

        1. Scott,
          They are inexpensive too. Their travel backpack is one of the best designed bags I’ve ever seen. I have a small top loader I hike and run in. Then I have their daypack which I carry every single day. And the travel pack.

    2. Scott,
      And I have two Tenba bags I love. Super small and very functional. I use Atlas for my larger expedition packs.

  4. Telex Iran was one of the books I missed too, unfortunately. I wish Magnum or Aperture would make a second edition – the work would now have historical significance. I’d happily settle for an ebook.

    It was interesting to hear the mention of the Kodachrome telex in the book as I don’t recall ever seeing any colour work connected to Telex Iran. I know that some photographers would shoot colour for the magazines and then make b & w prints for other markets. Shooting colour at that time would mean transparencies and I remember the wait for the little yellow envelopes to return in the post.
    Really enjoyed this, Daniel.

  5. Telex Iran bowled me over in J school. I bought a copy back 25 years ago. I sold it. Just rebought it a year ago. Paid too much…don’t regret it a bit.

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