Tehran, City of Hope and Despair

Following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the United States imposed sanctions against Iran. In 2006, following discussions around the Iranian Nuclear Program, the US, UN and other Western nations expanded the sanctions. The restrictions hobbled Iran's economy and led to widespread pessimism among Iranians about their future.

Iranian photographer Ako Salemi captured this series in the streets of Tehran at the height of the sanctions between 2012 and 2014. During this period, people felt the shadow of war over their heads and saw their purchasing power greatly diminished as prices rose dramatically, day by day.

▲ Early in the morning, Tehran, Sep 2013

Sometimes Ako Salemi shot from the hip, but often he waited for "the decisive moment" when the action, the light and other elements came together to make the ideal composition. He is very interested in how light and composition play on one another in his photos, and he shoots wherever he finds striking and visually appealing graphic elements.

In Ako Salemi's mind, street scenes are representative of the deeply interior life of Iranian society. As such, he photographed in the streets with a small camera (his iPhone) to be closer to his subjects.


A couple look at a view of Tehran, Sep 2014

A man try to read an illegible words on a wall, southern Tehran, Apr 2013

Mourning at main cemetery of Tehran, May 2013

Under a bridge in middle of Tehran, May 2014

Downtown Tehran, August 2014

(All images reserved Ako Salemi)





>> Gallery: Tehran, City of Hope and Despair

>> Photographer: Ako Salemi



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