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Iran in Photographs

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The Archives of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery contain more than 1,100 original prints and glass plate negatives by Antonin Sevruguin and other Persian photographers, dating from the late nineteenth century to the first decades of the twentieth century. They range in subject from formal and informal images of the Qajar royal family to expansive views of Persepolis to glimpses of everyday life on the streets of Tehran. Largely contributed by generous donors, these images form the core of the museums’ rapidly growing collection of photography.

The aim of this evolving website is to make these photographs accessible to a wider international audience. By drawing on the expertise of scholars, historians, and interested members of the public, we plan to expand and revise the website and to refine the available information—and we appreciate your help. We encourage you to browse through this growing collection of images, and we welcome your input in identifying the people and locations featured in these photographs. If you see a familiar face or you recognize a place, email us at IranInPhotographs@si.edu. Your participation is critical and will help this site to become an important resource for the study of early Persian photography around the world.

We thank the Parsa Foundation for a grant that allowed us to digitize and catalogue the entire collection, the largest public holdings of Sevruguin’s photographs outside Iran.

We are excited to reopen the Freer in October 2017, following a renovation to allow us to better present our art and serve our visitors. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.