In Isfahan – the historic and third largest city in Iran-local citizens believe that the true spirit of city is placed between the banks of Zayandeh-Rood River, and specifically in the vicinity of Si-o-seh Pol Bridge. Everyday life around this bridge and banks of the river present a surreal and cinematic form of culture in which players are from all walks of life.
Zayandeh-Rood literally means “life giving river” which metaphorically shows how important it is for the people of this city.
The drought in Iran in recent years has caused a serious shortfall in water supply and Isfahan’s people has suffered this in many ways. As a result of this, the river becomes bone dried almost all round the year. Hence, once the river after a long wait is reborn through its banks, it surges the new spirit into people’s daily life yet not a reassurance.
Sio-se-pol Bridge (i.e. the historic bridge belongs to 16th century Safavid Empire era) is the focal point of this river as thousands of people walk on daily or hang out nearby. They sit and chitchat on the stone benches under bridge arches by the gushing water crossing the bridge, even for the short stop, while sound of water soothes their daily stresses. Almost all citizens of Isfahan are emotionally relied on the life of this river running though heart of the city.
From group of youngsters wading in the water, young lovers hiding in secret corner of the bridge, people singing below the arches to echo their voices (old tradition for locals with a good voice), to families picnicking on the bridge stone platforms and daily passengers crossing it, all make this bridge an iconic feature in the city.
I was grown up and lived in Isfahan near Zayandeh-Rood River for more than 22 years and have witnessed the gradual deterioration in the co-existence between my hometown’s people and the river (i.e. as the identity of city) due to the many reasons such as drought, misuse of water resources, modernity, change of lifestyles, and wrong urban housing development policies.
This series aims to retrieve a mutual memory of “Zayandeh-Rood” from which the enigmatic and mysterious form of lifestyle is presented in the form of imagery. The lifestyle that should be appreciated as it would not be available to us anymore soon or after.
Sina Arbabzadeh is a documentary photographer based in Sydney. He also practices Fine art, and candid photography.
He started photography in 2005 as he fell in love with this medium and specifically landscape photography. He took various photography courses in film photography in Iranian Artist Forum in his hometown Isfahan.
He moved to Australia in 2011 and have had an opportunity to live in vast natural beauty and among people of diverse cultures to feed more his twin passions travelling and photography.
Having developed his photography skills in documentary, candid and fine arts, He strives to create a vision in his photographs as unique and to express his style which he believes is correlated by 3 words time, location and concept
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