Contemporary Iran | A Pictorial Internet Odyssey

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 …

While some others snow board …

And some crazy people snowboard down the handrail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until then: Bye Bye & Happy Weekend!

You might also like

Comments (31)

  • Amanda 6 years ago Reply

    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.

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    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!.

  • rabirius 6 years ago Reply

    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.

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    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!

    rabirius 6 years ago

    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.

  • Polianthus 6 years ago Reply

    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!

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    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.)

  • Albatz Gallery & Blog 6 years ago Reply

    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…

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    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) 😉

  • talkavino 6 years ago Reply

    Very interesting. Looking forward to more pictures 🙂

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    Thank you and yes, certainly, I’d like to!

  • apuginthekitchen 6 years ago Reply

    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.

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    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.

  • electriclesbian 6 years ago Reply

    What a wonderful look into the reality of Iran.

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    So glad to hear this! Thank you for visiting and commenting!

    electriclesbian 6 years ago

    I’ve been lurking for a while; finally posted 🙂

  • Keith B 6 years ago Reply

    Wow! Looks beautiful! Thank you for this insight!

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    My pleasure! Truly! Thank you for visiting.

  • Fae's Twist & Tango 6 years ago Reply

    I’m still laughing with tears… your comment, “Some people take the train. They go places. Then they come back.”

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    But I wasn’t going for comedy, I was going for “feeling” … BUT I’ll take it. Making you laugh is GOOD too!

  • ladyredspecs 6 years ago Reply

    Love the contrasts between your post last week and this. The media blows the oppressive side of Iranian culture out of all proportion, thanks for the balance!

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    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.

  • Gather and Graze 6 years ago Reply

    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!

    Effie 5 years ago Reply

    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 🙂

  • Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    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!

  • Yvonne 6 years ago Reply

    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.

  • Sophie33 6 years ago Reply

    What a lovely post! Thanks for showing us the other Iran! 🙂 xxx

  • the winegetter 6 years ago Reply

    I love this eclectic mix of photos. We have so little idea of what’s really happening in Iran, and your photos definitely help shedding some light…thanks for posting!

    the winegetter 6 years ago Reply

    Oh, and lest I forget, I find it moving how you embrace your Iranian/Persian heritage, and the sincerity with which you go about it. In person or in your blog. It is inspiring!

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago

    Thank you Oliver. That’s sweet to say. It’s who I am, so …

    Fig & Quince 6 years ago Reply

    My pleasure, Oliver! Good to see you around here! 🙂

Leave a Reply

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.