Bookmark (Choogh Alef)

Photographs | 2012

From Bookmark(Choogh Alef)-20th Century Photography Series | HD Print on Archival Acid Free Paper | 40*26.5 cm | 2012

The title of the collection is choogh alef or “bookmark.” Choogh alef in Farsi has two meanings. It recalls maktab-khaneh, the traditional schools where in an older period teaching and learning took place. In these schools, the master and the pupils used sticks to navigate the lines of the Quran and religious texts. The stick was used to avoid touching the letters and to guide the reading of the text. It was also used for another kind of guiding: the master used the stick for disciplining the students.

…In these works I am putting some marks on images. I choose the images, place them along texts and other images, and I try to extract new concepts through these markings. The camera is an instrument like the choogh alef: a somewhat accessible and democratic instrument that anyone can use to mark things. A layperson or a professional photographer can use it to document and demonstrate his or her vision through an image. He or she can frame the image, cut it or sever it from its background and in so doing, mark it anew. The camera, like choogh alef, guides and disciplines you and allows you not to get lost. At the same time, the disciplining and the framing can produce a particular vision or ideology. Consider news photography that frames and projects images at us, disciplining and guiding us.

Parham Taghioff, 2012

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