Why this ... Why Now.
A Picture is worth a thousand words - Chinese Proverb
A picture brings this vast glorious world within our reach. Clinging to the truism of this proverb, I accepted its advice and over a period of thirty years in the field of photography, I saw life through the lens as an amateur and a professional, dreaming of reality and illusion in a world of chaos, pain and beauty.
Yet within my soul I wanted to provide means for recalling memories of joy, sadness, nostalgia, places long forgotten, some still in existence, not knowing for how long, others long gone. "Memories from Telkaif" is one that has come to fruition. Telkaif, the Chaldean village in the north of Iraq whose houses, streets and alleys relate stories and even legends of past kept alive in oral tradition but have been lost figuratively or in reality. The pictures maintain the innocence of a box camera viewing this ancient village as was or is and without modern technological sophistication or latest software manipulation of original. It presents no falsehood. I allowed the lens to speak and record.
What "Memories from Telkaif" provides is the paths and sights, the doorways and alleys, the bridges and building structures, graffiti's and signs that confronted the eyes of its inhabitants in days gone by that nowadays bring memories with tears of joy or sorrow. I sought to record what survived. Undoubtedly, for each home and alley there are many a story, a tale or an occurrence embedded in dark corners of individual memories. I hope through these pages to provide a candle or a torch light to rekindle the senses of sight, sound and smell.
I know I kindled the memories of members of my family. I photographed Telkaif Post Office where so many went to post to or receive from loved ones letters. Jirjeese Petrus Shaaouni was its first postmaster general in the early decades of the Twentieth Century, to whom this effort is dedicated. I also photographed the flour mill founded by Shammo Petrus Shaaouni, owned and operated by my family for many years. It served the residents of Telkaif so faithfully. Many a love story had its beginning in either of the two places.
Grandparents will use this book and its contents to recall to their children and and grandchildren, those dear and fond memories. Grandchildren should rush to their grandparents with this book and ask them to share with them those stories and tales. I plead with you do not make it too late to do that so that someday you may share those tales with your own grandchildren.
Future generations will remember through these pictures this ancient Chaldean village, Telkaif, the abode of their forefathers, and the moments dear to their hearts. These memories will remain as a heritage of the joys and sorrows of its people.
I hope that I have succeeded in preserving through my photographs the memory of this village, Telkaif. I would welcome any communication from any source to build on this heritage and document those stories and tales in written word, spoken or song.