Kaleidoscope of Brilliant Mosque Interiors

Kaleidoscope of Brilliant Mosque Interiors Kaleidoscope of Brilliant Mosque Interiors

It is a side of Iran the rest of the world doesn’t normally get to see -- the kaleidoscopically brilliant interiors of the country’s intricately designed mosques.

With beautiful mosaics and stained glass framed by powerful architecture, the buildings are astounding.

Their fine detail has been captured in a series of breathtaking photographs by Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji, a 24-year-old physics student from Babol, a city in northern Mazandaran province.

What’s equally incredible is that Ganji’s skills behind the lens are largely self-taught from watching internet tutorials. Add to that the difficulties of actually taking high quality photos in mosques, where using equipment such as tripods is heavily restricted.

Ganji says his project to document mosque interiors and other Iranian landmarks began in 2008 after he was inspired by images taken inside Egypt’s pyramids.

“The photos had aesthetically documented those historical sites and made me highly amazed and inspired,” he told CNN.

“I wondered if I could take similar pictures of historical sites, and so through my trips all around Iran, I began to find old mosques suitable for taking interior pictures.”

Ganji uses fisheye and other wide angle lenses and panoramic tripods to create his photos, sometimes digitally stitching several images to create composites.

Often, his work involves an early start. “I prefer mornings, as the light is more appropriate and there are fewer people around,” he says.

“In the afternoon, the places are usually crowded, and in the evenings, some of them are closed for prayers.”

Ganji says he prefers capturing the interiors of mosques with symmetry, interior columns, good lighting and beautiful mosaics.

 Hidden beauty of mosques

“I also like buildings that are well known, popular and important. Although there are many people and tourists taking pictures of those places, and there are numerous images on the internet, I enjoy showing them in my own way.”

While his work has begun to attract international attention, Ganji says it’s yet to stir significant interest in Iran.

“I’m happy that my work is being seen worldwide and that I’ve been able to show Iran to others through my art.”

Ganji says he’s hoping to augment his image series by visiting more historic sites in Iran.

“In Iran, we have many historical sites. Some of the greatest are places of worship like mosques. As we have a grand mosque in every big city, there are many historical buildings with lots of beautiful mosaics to capture. Personally, I am always looking for the symmetry in mosaics and artworks. I like how they let the light come inside. Columns are very special as they divide interior spaces and induce some depth. Maybe some of these historical sites will not exist in 20 years or change a lot during the time. So when I am capturing these pictures, I think about how they will be recorded and in future I hope people will be able to see their beauty,” Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji said proudly.