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First impressions of Iran

I have only been here for 5 days and have kept myself very busy (or have let people keeping me very busy) but here are my first impressions about Iran.


Having been living in South East Asia for almost 10 years this is surely the most unusual landscapes I have ever seen. After landing in Tehran and grabbing a taxi to the city (about 65 km away) the road looked surreal. As it is June, the place is extremely dry, desert looking. But what makes the beauty of Tehran is the huge mountains surrounding the city. Tehran is basically built at the bottom of a huge mountain chain (some of the tops still being covered in snow) and that makes it quite incredible. Of course, I don’t have any photos of this to show, but I hope I will find the time once I am back in the big city.

Landscape of mountains surrounding Tehran

I am sure I could spend weeks exploring the area for landscape photography. But I am not a landscape photographer, so I went to look for people.


Fortunately for me, I have met an incredible person some years ago via Facebook while doing research on the country (I have been dreaming of coming here for a while now). And I have quickly understood what the Persian hospitality is! I have not been able to spend my own money until today and have been visiting some very interesting places. Interesting  for photography, but also personally. My friend is a social documentary photographer and we have been mostly talking about documentary work and the social issues of the country.

A mullah reading in a book store in Iran

Of course, that did not help my Travel Photography at all but has made me a much richer person.


I am now in Tabriz and surrounded by some incredible documentary photographers. They are showing me around the place and making me discover the underground scene of the city, where photographers and artists meet. A pretty unique experience! This could actually be a great place to live if I could ever get used to the cold weather they face in winter.


Oh yes, and the carpets! If you are a carpet fan, you cannot not come to Tabriz Bazaar!

An Iranian man selling carpets in Tabriz bazaar


About the people, they are people. Not the kind of stuff you can see if you watch Fox News. They are kind and busy. They go to work, they are stuck on their phones in the metro, they go home, see their family, and try to be happy. It is the month of Ramadhan at the moment so life in the street is not as busy as it should be, but that does not stop them from being available for the lost tourist.


I can’t thank enough the people of Iran for their kindness and helpfulness. It reminds me ¬†of Bangladesh, where people would come and talk to me in the streets, asking me if they can somehow help me.

2 men herding sheep near Kandovan


But it is now time for me to start actively taking photos, and tomorrow I am off to the deserts of the South for some (hopefully) landscape photos and travel stuff.


Much more to come soon ūüôā

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Founder of Pics of Asia, Etienne is a teacher with a photography habit.


  1. peggy peterson on June 12, 2016 at 4:37 am

    Have a wondrous time Ettienne. I will be waiting for your next chapter. Isn’t photography just a wonderful way to conduct your life

  2. Annette on June 12, 2016 at 6:44 am

    Thanks Ettienne, I really enjoyed your blog and photos. Looking forward to following the rest of your trip.

  3. Jean-Pierre Goetz on June 12, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks Etienne, enjoy the trip. I cannot wait to see your update. JP

  4. Paul J. Gardner on June 21, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Thanks, Etienne. Iran is on my ‘bucket list’ of places to see & photograph. The country is greatly misunderstood. Fascinating, friendly, hospitable – and home to award-winning photographers.

    • Etienne on June 24, 2016 at 10:20 am


  5. Mabel on July 15, 2016 at 12:47 am

    It looks really really nice up there!!! And your pictures are unique, as YOU! Don’t stop taking pictures of this wonderful world with amazing people.

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