Her Majesty Empress Farah Pahlavi Celebrated Georg Gerster’s
Photographs from
Paradise Lost: Persia from Above at:
Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery, Saturday, April 4th - New York

From left to write: Maryam Sachs, Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi, Swiss photographer
Georg Gerster in front of his aerial picture of Mount Damavand
Photo by KA

Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller welcomed Her Majesty Empress Farah Pahlavi, and
many others from America and around the world for a cocktail reception and
book signing in celebration of the opening of the exhibition
Paradise Lost: Persia
From Above
at Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery in New York. The first-time
ever exhibition featured 29 breathtaking aerial photographs of Iran by awardwinning
Swiss photographer Georg Gerster, taken in the immediate years before
the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution. The works were recently compiled in the
Paradise Lost: Persia From Above, edited by Maryam Sachs and published
by Phaidon Press.

In the late 1970’s Gerster was granted permission by Her Majesty Empress Farah
Pahlavi to record the Persian topography. It was a rare opportunity, resulting in
vivid photographs that capture the rich Iranian landscapes and city structures
that few people outside the country have been able to experience. Once the
Revolution broke out, however, Gerster’s plan to produce a book of these
photographs was brought to an immediate halt. Nearly thirty years after their
execution, Her Majesty Empress Farah Pahlavi and Maryam Sachs rediscovered
the photographs during a visit in January 2005 to the Arts Museum Bochum in
Germany where Gerster was featured in the show
Persiens Antike Pracht (Persia’s
Antique Glory
). Overwhelmed to see the magnificent photos of their homeland
again, Sachs used her stunning vision to bring Gerster’s photographs alive in

Paradise Lost: Persia From Above
that she calls her “gift to all Persians.” Indeed,
the gallery is thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce these photographs to
audiences of all generations who are both familiar and unfamiliar with the
Persian landscape.

Georg Gerster has dedicated the book, Paradise Lost: Persia from Above to Her
Majesty Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi


At left is the Mausoleum of Cyrus the Great

About the Exhibition and the Artist
In Sachs’ introduction to the book, Gerster reveals the origin for the
photographs: “Flying on business over Iran,” he writes, “I had been struck by the
thought that Persia’s natural and cultural landscape was predestined to be
viewed from the air.” Indeed Gerster, who is hailed as a pioneer in aerial
photography, allows us birds-eye-views that reveal the magnificence of the
country’s architectural feats and splendid countryside. Through the
photographs, we are able to explore ancient citadels and architectural sites;
some, like the historic
Persepolis, built thousands of years ago. We are also
given the opportunity to view some of Persia’s most magnificent mosques in all
of their luminous beauty. While such works reveal the more documentary
aspects of Gerster’s works, an undoubtedly artistic approach is present in his
landscape views. The abstraction of these works obscures a precise
identification and evokes a sense of mystery as to place and location. At the
same time, Gerster still presents his audience with photographs that capture the
stunning beauty of Persia’s landscapes, especially when seen from above.

GEORG GERSTER’S career spans over 40 years of aerial photography above 111
countries and six continents. Born in Winterthur, Switzerland in 1928, Georg
received his doctorate from Zurich University. Since 1956 he has been a
freelance journalist, and has worked on a regular basis for the Neue Zürcher
Zeitung and the Washington-based National Geographic. He has undertaken
extensive visits to every part of the world, and resides near Zurich.

Opening of Georg Gerster at Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery, East 78th St. - April 4, 2009
Leila Heller, Her Majesty Farah Pahlavi and Henry Heller. Photo©Patrick McMullan.

Also See article by Cyrus Kadivar

Click this Link to see:
Paradise lost Persia from above:

Swiss photographer Georg Gerster undertook a dangerous mission to capture the beauty of Iran
from the air on film, sticking his camera out a of a plane to do so -
THE INDEPENDENT UK - Tuesday, 5 April 2011