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  • Writer's pictureMina Boromand

Iran Land of Fire and Love

Updated: Jun 12, 2022

The idea for this project started before the Christmas holiday that I planned to visit Iran. My aim initially was to depict the beauty of love and the history of my land. (Iran the land of Fire and Love)

I returned from Iran with a developed idea different from my original.

My connection to Iran and the story of my journey of displacement become more expressive and relevant.

I started to experiment in the daylight studio by photographing small objects that I collected from my journey.

Daylight studio for a portrait shoot

contact sheets of all the shoot

The Cov19 took us by surprise, now we are all isolated and cut off from the outside world.

I have limited sources to finish my project also the mood of the project shift completely.

Colors in Persian Literature

Persian poetry and prose are a vast verbal panorama of the interplay of words and hues. Poets employ colors to represent sensations that have an aesthetic impact on the thought process and imagination of the readers. If poetry is all about imagery, then what is an image without colors? More than anything colors serve as a platform of impression, expression, and contrast through which the reader’s perception of text is shaped.

Interestingly, colors have also found their way into Persian literary terminologies. For instance, blank verse is mostly known as white poetry (she’r e sepid) or she’r e no (new poetry). Another exciting term, “jigh-e-banafsh” (literally, purple or violet scream) which initially originated as a Persian poetry movement is now used casually to refer to loud or harsh screaming. The term came into existence in the writings of Houshang Irani (1925-1974) an Iranian poet, journalist, and painter who is known as the “pedar” (father) a pioneer of Surreal Persian poetry. Irani was among the first poets who developed intangible and innovative compositions like “purple scream” and “ghaar-e-kabood” (azure cave) in the four collections he wrote, two of them entitled as “Hot purple over Grey” (1951) and “Grey” (1952). Irani was a painter who used the pen as his brush to build resplendent imagery with words.

In the realm of classical Persian literature, Iran’s long epic poem, the Shahnameh (literally, the book of the kings) written by Ferdowsi between BC.977 and 1010 AD serves as a primary example where colors are employed to create unique images of culture and tradition. Ferdowsi uses the word “rang” (color) at times to connote splendor, prosperity and wealth, although in a different context it could also stand for an entirely different impression, “neyrang” (trickery, hoax). “Rang va booy” (literally, color and scent) is a recurrent phrase in the Shahnameh and its meaning contextually varies from “decoration” to “deception”.

Ferdowsi also assigns different colors to the sarapardeh (habitat, like a tent which kings and courtiers live in while in travel or at war) of each hero in his epic poem. For instance, the habitat of Kay Kavus, a Persian mythological king, is haft rang (seven colors, in Persian culture the number 3, 7 and 40 are significant). Keykavus is a very ambitious king and a conqueror, the seven colors of his habitat stand for his multihued wishes and ambitions.

The color siyaah (black) is used to connote “viciousness” and “evil”. The phrase div-e-siyaah (the black demon/ogre) can stand for sadness, funeral, or even the apparition of an army from distance, all of which should be resisted and battled with the will and faith of the heroes. Another color that is abundantly visible in the Shahnameh is sepid (or sefid, white).

While white stands as a long-lasting symbol of purity and peace, many ancient poets have associated the color with mourning and funeral. Perhaps, this has to do with the kafan (shroud, white clothing over the body of the dead, a Muslim practice). Ferdowsi, however, uses white to offer a vast range of connotations from dideh sepid (white sighted meaning blind) to Div-e-Sepid (white demon) who is skilled in necromancy and the chieftain of all divs (demons) in Northern Iran.

Another Persian poet whose poetry is replete with colorful images is Hafez of the 14thcentury.

These are just a few instances of colors in Persian literature. There are of course many more classic and modern poets and writers like Khaghani and Sa’di (classic) Sohrab Sepehri and Frough Farrokhzad(contemporary) who explore the world of colors within the realm of their poetry. (

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