Women in Iran may be forced to wear the hijab – a scarf covering their head – but that doesn’t stop the country’s restless youth from keeping a watchful eye on Western fashions and trends. As young Iranians strive for sartorial freedom -- and fewer restrictions on the way they interact with the opposite sex -- they can face fines, imprisonment, and torture. But many still make small rebellious gestures: They put on a bit more makeup, wear colorful clothing, reveal bare arms, push their headscarves back and do things behind closed doors that are countercultural, or even banned.
This photographic project presents a window into the disobedience, both public and private, that can be found in Tehran. It’s a world I can identify with: As a young woman growing up in Iran, I adopted the dual life that everybody there leads. I had a public face but a private life. I emigrated to Canada when I was a teen, which allows me a unique perspective: I can be an insider when I’m in Iran, while my experiences in the outside world permit me added objectivity in looking at my subjects. Through these images, I try to explore the tension between the way people want to dress and behave, and the laws, enforced by the “morality police,” that constrain those desires. At a time when the country might seem mysterious to many Americans, I hope this project offers Western audiences a rare glimpse into the lives of ordinary people in Iran.