Persia from Above
A unique archive of beautiful aerial photographs of Persia.
Georg Gerster with text by Maryam Sachs
A stunning archive of aerial photographs from the 1970s, Paradise Lost: Persia from Above provides a unique look at a beautiful landscape and fascinating culture few people have seen for themselves. In 1976 and 1978, Georg Gerster, the pioneer of aerial photography who has influenced every aerial photographer working today, had the rare opportunity to record the landscape of Iran on over 100 flights and 300 flying hours. This unique photographic project resulted in a near complete documentation of the major archaeological sites and important landscapes in the region.
Persia is the ancient name of the region we now know as Iran. We still reference the country's long and rich cultural heritage when we speak of Persian carpets and Persian miniatures, of Persian language, history and literature. This book vividly brings to life a place, time and culture that few people outside Iran are able to witness. The book includes spectacular images of ancient citadels, desert ruins and rice fields spreading like a vast patchwork in a river delta, along with many unexpected sights, such as the bird's eye view of a crowded ski resort in the Alborz mountains, within easy reach of Tehran. Persia's densely packed cities are elegantly captured by Gerster and look so very different from Western European or North American cities of the same period – their complex, interlocking flat-roofed buildings are both timeless and timely, with architecture that has stood unchanged for thousands of years.
Georg Gerster is a pioneer of aerial photography. For over 40 years he has taken breathtaking pictures of mountains and deserts, coasts and lakes, spectacular archaeological sites and ancient monuments, agrarian and industrial landscapes in 111 countries on all continents, covering all types of territory from the Amazon to Antarctica. Based near Zurich, Switzerland, he also works as a journalist, and is a regular contributor to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and National Geographic.
Maryam Sachs (b.1962) was born in Iran, and educated at the Sorbonne in Paris. She has a Masters in Economic Development from Columbia University, New York, and her books include the anthologies The Kiss and The Moon, The Wild Emperor (with her husband, designer Rolf Sachs) and the novel Sans te dire adieu. She lives in London.