Worker edits a photography book by blacking masking tape then covering offending images.

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"Tell him he's fucked the book", I lazily requested of my translator - "You've ruined the book, we will not pay the full price" my translator politely stated while I pointed at one of the many blacked-out illustrations of women. This was not to be a good case to haggle with however - "I'll get you an unmarked one from the back, you can pay full price for that one" the sales man replied. We both laughed knowing full well that the Islamic editing was the only reason I was purchasing the book in the first place.

The previous Friday at the 19th Tehran book fair I'd visited the same stall, frantically photographing pages of a blacked-out fashion photography book. I wanted to purchase this now unique specimen as I watched a female worker laboriously take a black pen to masking tape before shielding offending skin parts from the Islamic audience. "Can I photograph you editing" I asked her, not expecting a positive response - I was wrong however. She carelessly attended to the pages as I silently observed, fascinated at what did and didn't survive, I struggled to see patterns though. Some legs survived; shoulders were acceptable in one shot but not another; arms wore black scribbles while others wore black masking tape; short sleeves were given to some women while others were fine in just their vests.

Even a kissing couple were met with the marker

A black and white photo of a woman's naked torso became a black square on the page, being clothed in three sections of masking tape from the waist up. Men were not excluded in this process, irregular black attire found its way to problematic areas of male bodies. Even a kissing couple were met with the marker. No, no, and no - how can so much of the world have it so wrong? I was dumbstruck, yet hooked, I wanted more and feasted on these now one-off anthropological artifacts. With every mark I saw the value increase, with every inconsistency I saw a story in the making, was it outsider art or a found object and how might one exhibit such a piece?

Oddly enough, at one side of the exhibition hall I was selling items partly of my creation, pages of digitally blacked-out text made to look like hand editing, demanding the reader to question the words further. Yet, across the hall I stood keen, willing to part with much money for similar yet more RealWorld™ questions. I requested the sales staff to find me further books that were edited, keen to pick a prize and one that would sit among other unique works within an independent book shop I help out with back in the UK.

I found my prize, a book of contemporary illustrators. Pages soiled with black marker pen, so much so that some pages stuck together. This was an authentic Islamic edited book, invested with much attention and ready for all humanity to view without fear of mental pollution. From a collection of artworks, a new artwork had been made, I did not see this book as being ruin but rather embellished, having added value or just fucked as one might say.


  • [An email sent regarding an illustrator in the book purchased and written about in this entry]

    Dear Marion Deuchars,

    I am writing concerning you illustrations found in Clin D'oeil that I purchased at the 19th Tehran Book Fair. I purchased the book due to the volume of Islamic editing throughout its pages and my intention was to photograph the edits and also later send the book to a book shop I manage in the UK.

    While looking through the pages I came across your illustration of a visit to Darband in the north of Tehran. I rather enjoyed the coincidence and wanted to share this as well as enquire as to whether it was you who has been?

    I have previously written about the book fair and am likely to do so again. I write a weekly blog of my time in Iran and wanted to mention this to you as I am likely to write about this for my next entry. If you can let me know the story behind this then I may use it.

    I wish you all the best with your illustration work and look forward to your reply.

    Kind regards,

    David Mohammad Yaghoobi


    Dear David

    Thank you for your interest.

    Yes it was me who made the visit to Iran. My sister is married to an Iranian and was spending some time in Tehran, learning Farsi when I visited her and her family there. I found it an incredible country with some of the most friendliest people I had encountered.

    I made the artwork on my return to London. I realised I had a lot of memories from the trip but had not taken so many photographs as one is inclined to do on holiday. I felt the camera a bit intrusive there as a means of recording and so kept a little notebook instead.

    You may include the artwork in your blog.

    Good luck with your projects.


    Dear Marion,

    Thank you for the reply and the information concerning the link with Iran. I was running with a tight deadline for the blog entry and went ahead without any mention of your artwork.

    I'm glad you enjoyed your time in Iran, it's rather a strange place I find but it seems you saw the good side.

    I will shortly be sending the edited book to Brighton where I help manage a book shop called The Permanent Bookshop http://www.permanentbookshop.com . Should you plan to be in the area in around a month then you should see this on display. If it's relevant I might ask that they add your words as a bookmark on your page.

    Should you wish to read my entry regarding the book then please visit http://www.ddmmyyyy.org

    Thank you again for your reply.

    David Mohammad Yaghoobi

    By Blogger David Mohammad Yaghoobi, at 7:30 PM  

  • I recognize this may seem a little off topic at first, but in recognizing how we are all connected and a pebble hitting a still pond sends ripples to all the shores, then you may be VERY concerned with the pretentions of FREEDOM in Canada. After numerous DEATH threats/attempts from POLICE across CANADA since I began notifying Canadians and the world about OUR corruption, I STILL struggle with finding anyone HONEST enough to do something about it.
    Raising awareness to the TRUTH behind the LIES of Government, policy, and distractionary wars.
    your humble servant,
    Ancient Clown

    By Blogger Ancient Clown, at 10:28 PM  

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