Forget the Hijabs: A Glimpse of Iran That We Don’t Often See

For the past 20 years images and news from Iran have been fairly consistent. There are women in hijabs, public demonstrations with burning flags, executions, and the ongoing threat of nuclear weaponry. Yet, in this 80 million-plus population lies a hidden life; albeit one that, against the conservative and theocratic laws that exist, still pervades the culture. A young photographer named Hossein Fatemi did a photo series of the “Iran that we never see.”

A local salon. Men are not allowed to go in or work there.

In the series, there are images of local parties with drinking and dancing, bohemian artists enjoying a smoke in their studio, and Islamic women playing billiards in an all men’s hall. There are even women on their balcony without any burqas on (still considered legal to do so), and a rock band practicing underground.

A secret rock concert.

There still are strict laws, such as forbidding certain types of music and considering dogs unclean (your pet could be confiscated). Yet, in the midst of the laws, there are those who express their freedom within the confines of their own home and establishments that don’t enforce the rules. Check out more of Fatemi’s photography here.

A gym only for women.

Local artist Eylya enjoys a drink and smoke in his house.

Women playing billiards at a hall, where only men are supposed to be allowed.

A local Iranian rock band practices in a hidden location.

A local and his dog.

Some parkour in the park.

Playing music in a park.

Two women having a smoke on their balcony without their burqas.

A little bit of drinking and dancing on a weekend night.

A couple read the Koran in a cemetary to commemorate the death of an Imam.

A view of the capitol city, Tehran.

via daily fresher

Shawn Saleme

Shawn Saleme is a contributing writer for Visual News. A 4th generation San Franciscan, Shawn has developed an adventurous spirit that has taken him to over 55 countries. His degree in cultural anthropology shapes his perspective and thirst to socially experiment in a rapidly shifting planet. His work has been featured in the Seattle Times, The Globalist and the Daily Mail. Currently he is writing a book about the shared economy. Connect with him @shawnsaleme.

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  1. Edsays:

    Great photos! I really enjoyed them!

    The title is pretty misleading though, because 95% of Iranian women never wear Burqa’s! The statement “These women are in Burqa’s is wrong”. Burqa’s cover the face, and are very popular in the Arab part of Iran only.

    – From an Iranian, who grew up in Iran

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