Project info

In 2014 and 2015, Sydney-based photographer Rod Sainty travelled extensively throughout modern-day Iran to locate and photograph the iconic architecture and monuments of ancient Persia.

One inspiration for the survey was the challenge to revisit sites photographed in the 1920s by the German archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld and in the early 1930s by the English traveller and author of The Road to Oxiana, Robert Byron. Following those pioneers, Rod used the classic tools of architectural photography – a large format view camera and sheet film - to photograph each subject at close range. Rod’s intention was to replicate, to the fullest extent possible, the sense of presence he felt while standing right there with each subject, up close, “feeling, as it were, its breath upon me”.

To avoid the distortions of tilting and excessive convergence that afflict images of architecture made at close range with normal cameras, Rod used a technical shift camera offering extensive lens movements, large-format lenses with extra-large image circles, and 4x5 inch sheet film. Travelling with such equipment presented challenges. The lasting rewards, however, are undistorted, quietly elegant and richly detailed portraits of some of history’s most amazing architecture.

Few people have photographed these iconic sites in this way before and it is likely that few, if any, will do so again.