Contemporary Iran | A Pictorial Internet Odyssey

iran Air flight attendant pilot crew plane contemporary photograph

Iran Air Flight Attendants, pilot and crew posing inside the plane

Iran Air Flight Attendant, Pilot and crew | Contemporary Iran

Last week I posted some choice vintage pix of a time in Iran that is by now a foregone conclusion. A few of you were surprised by the Iran of the past and a few were wondering about the Iran that exists now. Just who are these Iranians we hear so much about on the news? Let’s take a pictorial journey across the ocean to a land steeped in ancient culture and modern controversy, the land of caviar and saffron and pistachios and rosewater and Rumi and Khayam, one of the oldest dynastic empires, and a land infamously labeled the Axis of Evil. (Since I have not been back since we left, I relied on Uncle Internet to gift me with some photographic evidence. Credit is given when the copyright owner is identifiable.)

Let’s start with the national Iranian airline again. In contrast with the swinging 60’s mini skirt touting flight attendants of the last Friday post, here are some pix I found of a modern day Iran Air crew: pilot , co-pilot and flight attendants. All seems normal and copesetic. But: no mini-jupe in sight!

Let’s take a look at some of the people who live in iran. Maybe we’ll see something different than just the saturated media images. What do people do in Iran? How do they live?

Looks like some people ski …

Skier on the slopes in Shemshak, Iran

Skier on the slopes in Shemshak, Iran | Source


While some others snow board …

Snowboarder, Shemshak, Alborz Mountains, Tehran  Snowboarder walking in heavy snowfall on way to skilift, Shemshak, Alborz Mountains.  Read more:

Snowboarder in Shemshak (Near Tehran) Iran  | Source

And some crazy people snowboard down the handrail.

Snowboarder, Shemshak, Alborz Mountains, Tehran | SOURCE

Snowboarder, Shemshak, Alborz Mountains, Tehran | SOURCE


Some women embrace the mandatory hijab (covering up, that is) with gusto while some observe it with a degree of inventiveness.

A woman wearing chador and another woman covering hair with a loose scarf | SOURCE

A woman wearing chador and another woman covering hair with a loose scarf | SOURCE


Some people take the train. They go places. Then they come back.

Train station Tehran

Train Station in Tehran | Source


Some people enjoy a private swimming pool to mingle and play.

Socializing at a swimming pool in Tehran.

Swimming pool party in Tehran, Iran | Source

Some people go to the mosque of Emam Reza in Mashad to worship and pray.

Pilgrims at the tomb of Emam Reza in Mashahd | Source

Pilgrims at the tomb of Emam Reza in Mashahd | Source

Some people play music on the street. (Look! Iranian hipsters!)

Street Musician Performers (twins? hipsters?)  in Tehran Humans of Iran Hipsters of Iran

Street Musician Performers (twins? hipsters?) in Tehran | SOURCE

And some people call it a day already and take a coffee break.

Tehran Iran Coffee shop cafe tea cigarette break

A chai va sigar break | source

And on that note, I’m going to follow suit and break for coffee! To be continued!

Female iranian flight attendants contemporary Iran Persian iran Air Uniform

Khoda Hafez ta dafeh ba’di bacheh ha! 😀

Until then: Bye Bye & Happy Weekend!


31 thoughts on “Contemporary Iran | A Pictorial Internet Odyssey

  1. Cool vignette! I like that you’re showing another side of Iran. It’s cute and kind of like a children’s book. It’s a very human post for a very special place.

    • Amanda, that’s such an apt observation! Without realizing it, I guess I was going for a children’s book kind of vibe what with simple sentences and rhyming!.

  2. Lovely shots.
    There are so many interesting things to see – though I only know Tabriz, I was astonished how modern the county is.
    Though you also find a fascinating cultural heritage.

    • Yes, if going by media images, the country is made up of sad urchins with runny noses and old peasants and angry people … but, the real story is another. I loved your Tabriz reporting – as you know!

      • Thank you as well.
        As I have to analyze a lot of media on a professional basis I sometimes get a bit outraged about the way things are reported – especially when journalists try to force their point of view on you – which I’ve noticed more and more.

  3. Great work – nothing better than to show real life of real people to increase understanding that the “axis of evil” – is a place where mundane stuff happens. I remember traveling in the US once on the train through the south and a nice lady said: ah you come from europe, we heard you don’t shower very much as you don’t have running water/showers/water shortage – cannot remember which (1994) – one of my friends luggage went to Swaziland instead of Switzerland (2002) and my bank for many years sent my post to Switzerland/Swasiland…(up until I called them and explained that Swasiland and Switzerland are not the same place :)) and I often came across the feeling that the Europeans are felt to be just that bit less inhibited than other individuals. Most of it made me laugh. Most of it is easily explained by the fact that we cannot know what we haven’t seen, however, I use the examples to show that although we Europeans are so much closer and definitely Western compared to Iran etc. even we are perceived to be very exotically different. Love the pic of the skiing, bet that was a surprise to many!

    • What a thoughtful comment. As usual. You get it, exactly. Thank you for sharing your personal vignettes. Illuminating, right? ( I’m so very happy our paths have crossed.)

  4. I love this! And your previous post which I somehow missed. I have never been to Iran although I was in Greece in December 1978, and on the verge of going there – it was on the route to India. But rumours were flying that the Shah’s ‘holiday’ in France was not a holiday. Ultimately I didn’t go and that was probably the best. But I still would love to go there…

    • I believe December 1978 was just as the fire of the revolution was beginning to flame, so yes, perhaps it’s best you did not go. The Shah did go on a perm holiday just a little over 35 years ago.

      You should consider going sometime. It’s a beautiful country. Just ask Rabirus (above) 😉

  5. Great photo’s I especially love the one of the two women sitting, one totally enveloped in the chador and the other barely flirting with a scarf and the twin hipsters was cool also. Iran is a country of contrasts, it’s fascinating.

    • I was looking for the right word and it was escaping me and “country of contrasts” is such a perfect way to describe Iran. It really really was, has been and may forever remain a country of contrasts.

      I like that photo too! On one level it’s just a simple snapshot. On another level, it is so revealing.

    • Thank you! So happy to hear this. Let’s put it this way. I do not recognize myself, my family and our extended friends and relatives in any of the media images portrayed.

  6. Fabulous photos once again Azita! How beautiful is that mosque (and all the gorgeous rugs laid out in front of it!) Also found the photo of the 2 women chatting rather intriguing… can you tell me, who is it that decides how covered up the women need to be? Does it come from the family? the woman herself? Are larger cities more accepting of less hijab (simple scarves for example) than rural areas? The lady on the right in the photo looks so strikingly stylish and beautiful, but would this way of dressing offend some people over there?? So many questions I’d love to ask you about all of these photos! Thanks so much for posting this modern-day version of Iran – love it!

    • Hi you are all correct about it. The dress code in Iran is that women must cover themselves only face, and hands and foot up to heel(if the word is correct). But how you cover it varies alot from very traditional to modren style. And it depends on you, as a person then your family where you live, or even where you are going 🙂

  7. Thank you Margot! Tehran and other large cities are much more tolerant towards a flexible view of hijab. Until the revolution, it was a choice made by a woman (or a woman’s family) but after the revolution, it is mandatory. My info is all second hand but my understanding is that unless the woman comes from a strict fundamental family, it’s really up to the woman herself. Looks like these days they don’t bother people too much with a strict enforcement of covering up. I’d like to know the answer to your question better myself as well!

  8. I LOVE Iran. As the plane descends and I see the Alborz Mountains, it’s as if they’re hugging me home. The aromas, the tastes, the sites, the history, the culture….the people, all form the foundation of my happy place.

    The last time I went, after many years away, I walked into my little sabzi froosh store ( vegetable store) and the old man who owned it, without missing a beat, barely cast a glance at me and said “Khanum, kooja boodeen? Kam paydaree. .Khosh amedeen.” ( Ma’am, where have you been? You’ve rarely been seen. Glad you’re here.) And my heart was instantly warmed and I knew I was home. This American military kid who moved every few years of her life and never knew what to answer when asked where she was from, suddenly and inexplicably knew. “Iran.” ❤️

    Thank you for sharing these photos.

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