Past Continuous

Tahmineh Monzavi

My childhood years were spent in a century old house; high ceilings, decorated with elegant basreliefs were an implication of the majestic architecture of the past which was a solace to me in those years.

With the passing of years I witnessed the painful demolition of these representatives of the grandeur from the past and their replacement with soulless highrises and apartment buildings. Hidden in the midst of broken bricks and semi standing walls, the reminiscence of those who once lived in these mansions persisted; reviving my childhood memories.

There is a curious sensation concealed in the ruins; a vague existence of a once bustling with life location that has traveled throughout time to tell us the story of those who used to inhibit them, as if trying to relate and tell us their ages old stories.

I discovered how the human presence in the background altered the actual definition and usage of these desolate spaces, giving them a new, contemporary air which could also be seen as a representation of their place in society today.

People in these photographs are from the same country where the ruins stand; some of the locations are in Afghanistan, a place that always signified ruins and destruction for me due to decades of war. The other locations are from the four corners of my country Iran. The presence of people is a complementary component that is to add aesthetic as well as conceptual value to the photographs, while the abandonment and invisible significance of the chosen ruins that are overshadowed by the ghostly presence is another part of the main idea.