Photo by @rezaphotography #France #Paris
After the Moment
I was coming out of three days at the Liancourt Prison. I was not incarcerated; thanks to Robert Badinter, the Attorney General at the time, I was granted access to do a reportage on prisoners with life sentences, some of whom were very sick. I was shaken by what I had seen, since this incarceration brought back memories of the one I had lived through for three years in Iran, in the jails of the Shah as a political prisoner. It was a period during which, for the first time in my life, I had no access to a camera.
It was during the early hours of the morning. I wanted to drop off my film as quickly as possible at the Rapho Agency, then on the Rue d’Alger in Paris. I had a bit of time before the office opened for the day so I decided to take a stroll in the Tuileries and finish up my film. I’ve always had a hard time not getting to the end of each roll of film. I heard the sound of wings; my camera is always at the ready and I snapped a few photos. Some birds and a statue. Nothing more. A few days later, I developed this photo which I quite liked. A shot of a sculpture of a figure in chains and a free bird. My friend Adriano Sofri, an Italian intellectual who was visiting me at the time exclaimed, “Hey Reza, are you now into mythology?” I didn’t understand the allusion, so he recounted the story of Prometheus, the Titan who wanted to bring fire to mankind and so the gods condemned him to be chained to a rock in perpetuity while an eagle continuously devoured his liver, which kept regenerating. In Paris, Prometheus was a statue and his tormentor, a pigeon. The explanation for an instant that one seeks to capture sometimes comes after the moment.
Published in "Derrière l'objectif" (Hoëbeke Publishing, 2010)
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