“Ziba” Zahra Kazemi (1948 - July 11, 2003)
Bio: Iranian-Canadian photojournalist, Zahra “Ziba” Kazemi, was murdered by Iranian officials after her July 2003 arrest while photographing a demonstration in Tehran, Iran.
Zahra (Flower) Kazemi, called "Ziba" (“Beautiful" in Farsi) born in Shiraz, Iran in 1948.
In 1974, following her Film studies in Tehran, Ziba moved to Paris, France, where she worked for Iranian TV. As a photographer who was deeply committed to documenting people living in climates of social and political conflict, she had a special gift for capturing the strengths of women whose lives were shrouded by poverty, forced exile, and oppression. In her extensive travels, Ziba created beautiful pictures of ordinary people and their habitats. Her striking portraits of women often focused on their eyes, "the windows of the soul."
In 1993 she immigrated with her son, Stephan, to Canada where she became a freelance photojournalist. It was during this time that she began her reportage work, producing documentaries from many of the socially and politically troubled regions of the world including: the Ivory Coast, Mexico, Haiti, and Costa Rica. She traveled throughout the Middle East, documenting the conflict in Palestine, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan
In 2003 Ziba went back to visit her native country. On June 23, while in Tehran waiting for a visa to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, Ziba photographed demonstrators in front of Evin Prison, known for holding and mistreating political prisoners. While photographing these demonstrations, the Iranian police stopped Ziba and requested that she give them her camera and her film. She refused. Opening her camera and exposing her film to the light, she destroyed her pictures, thereby eliminating any evidence that may have proven incriminating. Ziba was arrested on the spot. Over the next few weeks, while held in captivity, she was tortured, beaten, and raped. Ziba was taken to The Baghiyyatollah al-Azam Military Hospital, a military hospital in Vanak, Tehran, where she died on July 11, 2003
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