A Glance at Iran

By Marina Paula Duarte De Carvalho

Event Date: 11th January — 3rd February, 2018


“A glance at Iran” comprises 30 photos by Marina Carvalho. They are records of what she experienced within her 10-day-journey in Iran. Photographs arouse our curiosity, and they can show what are behind the war scene in the Islam nations. Her works are mainly in black and white, showing the cities of Tehran, Isfahan and Yazd.



Marina Carvalho was born in Lisbon in 1961, Portugal. She attended the “Graphic and General Equipment Design, and Interiors Architecture” course, from 1982/1985 and the Photography course, from 1985/1986 at the “Institute of Art, Design and Equipment – IADE” in Lisbon. In 1992 she attended a Photography course at “Coombe Farm Studios” in England. She was awarded two 3rd prizes and one 1st prize in Design, in Portugal. She participated in several collective exhibitions in Portugal, Spain, England and Macao. Since 2012 she attended various Workshops on Drawing, Painting, Ceramic Sculpture, Bijouterie and Weaving, at the “Casa de Portugal – School of Arts and Crafts”, in Macao.


“A glance at Iran” has the purpose to share my experience while traveling in a country from which lays controversial opinions, according to the political news.

Following the referendum in March 1979 an Islamic State was formed under Ayatollah Khomeini as supreme leader.

As an adventurous person and against all advices, I decided to visit Iran together with a small group of people from Macao and Hong Kong. I was the only Portuguese in the group lead by Mr. Reza Rashidnia, an Iranian citizen, and Mrs. Ah Do, Macanese.

With respect and according to the Islamic religion tradition, I used my head covered all times.

The moment I stepped in Iran, the arid landscape slapped me, the color of the soil contrasted with the bright blue sky. Besides the very good roads, this image got all along when travelling by bus from Tehran to Kashan, and from there to Esfahan, ending at Yazd city in the desert.

I felt always surrounded by the warmth of the Iranian people. Their eagerness in inquiring about where I was from and how I was feeling about their country was constant. I could always hear some voice welcoming me into their country.

I was quite impressed with the young generation when talking with them for their cultural and knowledge level. I was told that 70% of Iranian population is under 40 years old. I got surprised when going to the artifact shops in Esfahan Bazar, for the attention and kindness of owners and staff, addressing the clients in different languages. In one of these shops I just spoke in Portuguese, my mother language. I heard them speaking in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Russian and Mandarin. I wondered how they learned all these languages and for my surprise they told me they have used the internet. Proud for their country, they still find a lack of opportunities in their professional lives, living with the restrictions to going abroad.

Each city I visited had their unique features like Kashan with their luxurious Persian gardens in rich mansions, with their water channels and fountains, bringing to life all the living nature. Esfahan, once capital of Persia, is a splendorous city, with its gardens, ancient bridges and the Naqsh-e Jahan Square surrounded by the Ali Qapu Palace, the Emam Mosque and the enormous Bazar. Yazd, the city in the desert made me fascinated with its narrow lanes in between the mud walls of its houses with their amazing wind catchers structures. Tehran, Iran’s capital, impressed me by its incredible geographic location with the 4,542 m of the Mount Darband (Alborz Mountains) on the north where a modern city is developing and a notorious wellbeing is experienced by the people.

Entertainment as known in the west is not found but I noticed young people gathering in cafes, old people enjoying the breeze in the gardens, families walking on the streets by the end of the day. The stunning old bridges of Esfahan are places where people gather after a hot sunny day. In such beautiful environment, I saw people playing guitar, singing or reciting poetry. Tehran offers wonderful opportunities for walking along the Darband Mount trails or gathering at cafes and restaurants nearby.

Alcohol is forbidden in Iran as in all the Islamic countries. The cuisine is very tasty. The salads, the fruit, the cheese and the olives reminded me of my country. There was also a delicious dish, chickpeas with lamb cooked in a clay pot.

Iran is homeland of one of the most ancient civilizations and has much to offer.

The time was too short to enjoy it all but a door was opened to my own curiosity and I hope it will to yours too.


Marina Carvalho


Link to Marina’s interview on TDM Chinese Channel: