TEHRAN, Iran — As a little girl, Newsha Tavakolian dreamed of being a singer. There was only one problem: this wasn’t a career open to females in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
So now, some 20 years later, Travakolian, has found a different way to express herself. She’s become one of Iran’s most accomplished photographers, covering news and documentary projects. Her career started at the tender age of 16, shooting for various women’s publication in Tehran.
She has covered wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, shot the Hajj in Mecca, and her images have appeared in many influential publications in the United States, including TIME, Newsweek and National Geographic. Her images often depict the lives of women in Islamic societies.
In recent years, however, Tavakolian, 29, grew tired of shooting subjects, which she increasingly considered boring.
“They always wanted to show the clash between modernity and tradition, and all of these cliches,” she said. “And I was a part of that. I was taking pictures of the same things, and it wasn’t interesting for Iranians, because this is what they see all the time.”