Thanks to Robert Nelson for the mention in The Age last week. Guy Vinciguerra’s show, ‘Metropolis’
finishes up this Saturday, February 1st. (Gallery hours are from 1-4pm.) If you haven’t already, be sure to come
down and take a look. Guy’s show has had a fantastic run and we’re sad to see it leave the walls. Watch this
space for what’s happening during February as we have something a little different planned. In the mean time,
I’ll leave you with this, an excerpt from an email I received this week from Guy, who is currently continuing his
Silk Road series in Tehran.
“…Got busted yesterday for being in a restricted area with a camera around my neck. Two cameras actually but while i was in the back of the police car I sequestered my digital camera in my back pack.
I was, without knowing it, walking near president Khamenei palace. The signs clearly said no cameras so I tried to get out of there as quickly as I could. Next thing I know is that a beat up car with two dour looking young men in western dress stopped and asked for my passport which I did not have because the hotel kept it. The hotel front desk had told me if I was stopped to show them the hotel business card and I’d be right. Well the two secret police took me to a sub station about 500 m away from where they picked me up and I was interviewed (in broken english) sucessivly by three different men, each of increasing superiority. They wanted to know why I didn’t have a passport on me, how long I’d been in Iran, where I’d been while in Iran, what I did for a living and what on earth I was doing in a restricted area. I phoned my guide who lives 900 k away in Shiraz and he spoke to the cops and collaborated my story about my itinerary. I thought it was over but instead I had to wait until a car arrived to take m e to the police station proper. While this was happening I got quizzed about Australia and they wanted to know whether we were allowed to have more than one wife.
Then I was taken to the police HQ and interviewed aggressively by the head honcho who went through the whole thing again. After a while the hotel manager arrived with my passport and I thought it would be over but it wasn’t. The Chief, one of those efficacious bastards you see in spy movies and loved the sound of his own voice, wanted to see what was on my Contax G2. Being film and not digital he stressed that he needed to see my images before he would let me go. Well you can imagine the difficulty in getting B&W film developed in Tehran. The hotel manager, a cop and I went to 3 stores before they found one that could process B&W. Then we went back to the police den and I had to sign and place a finger print impression on my interview statement that the hotel manager translated for me. The film would take 6 hours to dev and they refused to return my passport to me until they could confirm I was not a spy, terrorist or journalist.
Funny thing is that yesterday I had 4 other cameras in my back pack and they never examined the contents of the bag.
The whole thing from arrest/apprehension took 4 hours and as I knew I’d done nothing wrong I felt safe but …..
The same night while I was having dinner the roll of negatives came back by courier and it was totally empty except for a blurred first frame which the lab made a print of. This morning we returned and showed the developed roll of film to the Chief and he wanted to know what the blurred photo was. I told him that it was exposed when I was fast forwarding the film and it was a blurred photo of his desk. He understood but wanted to have fun with his terrorist, namely me. He was a pig who loved the sound of his own voice and loved his power even more. Then for 15 excruciating mins he listed the name of 4 or 5 Iranians I’d never heard and insisted that I knew them. I didn’t and told him so repeatedly. Finally he returned my passport without so much as an apology. But as my file will be sent to is superiors I wonder if I’ll ever get another Iranian visa? The whole thing lasted 26 hours and I was a bit shaken; but not enough to stop me hitting the streets of Tehran….”
The Path from Upper to Lower Sost (from Guy’s Pakistan, Silk Road Stories)