While living in Germany for the past seven years, photographer Samaneh Khosravi noticed that there were many misconceptions within the Western understanding of Iranian culture. In a project titled “Among Women,” Khosravi seeks to shed new light on a lesser-known facet of modern Iran: its diverse women’s fashion and beauty scene. In the photos, Khosravi accompanies the women as they shop, socialize, and even visit with their plastic surgeons. The images were compiled into a book titled Among Women, which Khosravi describes below:
“This photo book documents the beauty ideals of today’s Iranian society, which are hardly known outside of Iran. It focuses on the young, confident Iranian women, who define their ideal of beauty with the interplay between modernity and tradition. More often, the simple beauticians are not enough for the young Iranians, and therefore the plastic surgeons need to lend a hand sometimes.” (Source)
In a world wherein the media is so often dominated by Western standards and perceptions, Khosravi’s project is important in providing us with an authentic glance into her culture—one that hasn’t been filtered through a Western lens. We see familiar images—the nail salons, the shopping arcade, the self-conscious glance in the mirror—but Khosravi’s candid style reveals a cultural distinctness in Iran’s approach to beauty, one that has its own nuances, such as the combination of traditional head scarves with modern makeup styles. “Iran is different,” she writes. “Iran is not only different from Germany, but also from the image presented by mainstream media” (Source).
It is Khosravi’s dream to disseminate this detailed perspective of Iran to the world. She is currently seeking support to publish her book with Kerber Verlag, which means it would reach a greater number of people. If you’re curious about Iran and you wish to support an image of the country that doesn’t fall under the umbrella of Western unilateralism, be sure to visit her crowdfunding page and help her reach her goal. The book is aimed for publication in October 2015. Visit Khosravi’s website, Facebook page, and Instagram to follow her progress and learn more.