This article was originally published on February 6, 2016, to mark the launch of the website Abbas and the Revolution, which celebrates the work of legendary Magnum photographer Abbas.
Abbas died on April 25, 2018 in Paris.
The website will be expanded, along with an exhibition of Abbas' photographs of the Iranian Revolution, to mark the 40th anniversary of the revolution in February 2019.
Through a unique collection of photographs spanning from 1971 to 2005, contact sheets and exclusive interviews with the photographer, Abbas and the Revolution offers an unprecedented portfolio and appreciation of one of the most important photographers of our time.
Abbas, an Iranian transplanted to Paris, dedicated himself to documenting societies in conflict, and is particularly known for his outstanding reportage of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. A member of the prestigious agency Magnum Photos, Abbas’s extraordinary work has appeared in thousands of publications around the world.
In more than 50 video conversations with the project’s initiator, Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, Abbas recalls the most significant moments of 1978-1980 and his later return to the country in 1997. He gives exceptional insight into his photography style and techniques, and shares the stories behind his iconic photos — a remarkable collection of historical documents and a recommended case study for aspiring and professional photojournalists.
“Abbas’s photos give you a better understanding of modern Iranian history, and the complex characters of the past 50 years, including the Shah, Khomeini, their officials and disciples,” says Maziar Bahari, who is also the founder of IranWire and Journalism is Not a Crime. “You learn more about the typically Iranian forms of violence, benevolence and obsequiousness than you could by reading hundreds of articles and books.”
To view Abbas’s iconic images and hear the impressive stories behind them, please visit Abbas and the Revolution at abbas.site.
A hairdresser salon, Tehran, 1978. © Abbas/Magnum Photos.
The Shah at a press conference, 1971. © Abbas/Magnum Photos.
Revolutionaries beat up a supporter of the Shah, Tehran, January 25, 1979 © Abbas/Magnum Photos.
Demonstrators carry a poster of Khomeini, Tehran, January 1979. © Abbas/Magnum Photos.
Ashraf Rabiei, a leader of People's Mojahedin, at a shooting range near Tehran, April 1979. © Abbas/Magnum Photos.
Two armed revolutionaries chant slogans in front of the sieged American embassy, Tehran, November 1979. © Abbas/Magnum Photos.
A man and three women on a motorcycle, Shahr Rey, Iran, 1997. © Abbas/Magnum Photos.