Elizabeth Taylor in Iran, as photographed by Firooz Zahedi

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Coincidence to be sure, but Elizabeth Taylor’s death Wednesday morning at 79 coincides with Nowruz, sometimes called “Persian New Year.” Beginning on the first day of spring and lasting for 13 days, Nowruz -- “New Day” -- celebrates the start of nature’s annual cycle.

In the summer of 1976, photographer Firooz Zahedi was himself beginning something new when, as a relatively recent graduate from Washington’s Corcoran School of Art, the aspiring young artist accompanied Taylor to Iran. Zahedi photographed the acclaimed 44-year-old actress -- and extraordinary beauty -- in the cities of Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of ancient Persia’s Achaemenid Empire; the garden-city of Shiraz; and, finally, architecturally splendid Isfahan.


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Those pictures, never before shown together, are on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Zahedi, now a well-known commercial and Hollywood photographer, explains the unusual circumstances of the expedition in this short video, produced by the museum for “Elizabeth Taylor in Iran: Photographs by Firooz Zahedi.” The show remains in the fourth floor galleries of LACMA’s Ahmanson Building through June 12.


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-- Christopher Knight