Photobloggies 2006 awards nomination phase is now open. You have 8 more days to nominate your favorite photoblogs. Last year Kosoof (which means solar eclipse in Persian) – Arash Ashoorinia’s photoblog – was elected as the best middle eastern photoblog thanks to huge votes by Iranian internet users. Arash has a keen eye for the world around him and has taken memorable pictures of different important social events in Iran. His landscape photos are also beautiful, and he usually adds a Persian poem to his landscape photos to add to the effect.

The most important photos that he has taken recently are photos of Akbar Ganji, Iranian dissident journalist who was released from prison after 6 years (onetwo). When it comes to such important issues, Arash and his camera are always present right at the moment they should. For Iranians in daispora, Arash’s camera works like their eyes back home.

I’m sure he will be nominated this year as well. But my worries are that this year’s final winners will be selected by a jury and not the public. I don’t know whether this jury (that seems not to have any Iranian members) will understand the importance of photos Arash takes or not. Many photos of Arash should be judged within their own Iranian contexts. For example, his photos of Iranian women gathering on International Women’s day this year should be viewed within the context that photographers were not allowed to take pictures that day and many of them were harassed by the police. So, the fact that he could take pictures within that difficult situation adds more to the importance of those photos, regardless of their technical quality.

I hope the jury will recognize the importance and beauty of Arash’s photos. Take a look at them if you haven’t seen them before and judge for yourself (and don’t forget to nominate him!!)

* By the way, I was wondering if Photobloggies considers photo pages in flickr as photoblogs or not. Any ideas?