Paolo Woods arrived in Tehran in 1999 with a bag full of black-and-white film. Like many photojournalists before him, he headed to the former American embassy,
where the hostage crisis had begun 20 years earlier; a landmark of Iran’s tumultuous political past.
He was struck by the contradiction of what the building represented and what was actually occurring around him. Children passed with balloons. Women chatted loudly in groups. Taxis zipped past, emblazoned in vivid colors. The vibrancy of the city belied the historical heaviness of the symbolic building before him.