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Staring Back Through Time

Artist Blog by Amin Yousefi

Eyes Dazzle as they Search for the Truth was created during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Like many other businesses during the pandemic, Ag Galerie, where I worked, closed its doors to the public and began working on its collection of photography archives. Large numbers of photographs and negatives were coming in every week, and part of my job was to sort and scan those. A single 15 by 10 cm print caught my eye among the hundreds of photographs I came across daily. At first, I thought it was a picture of unrest during the Revolution. This curiosity led me to use a loupe to see the photograph's details. It was a photo of a gathering of students in the city of Langarūd in northern Iran. While searching for more information about the image, I noticed that a few people caught within the frame had found the photographer and were staring at their lens. The photograph became even more interesting than I had thought. Their eyes were staring at the camera as if they were not happy with the photographer being there. Whether the photographer took a few frames or the onlookers were staring for a while to be photographed are questions that remain unknown to me.

The quarantine gradually spread to all parts of the country, and more preoccupied with current events, I forgot about the photo. A few questions, however, kept coming back into my thoughts: How photographer's presence always affect the event of photography? Did any protesters of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 find the photographers and stare into their lenses? And if yes, why?

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