Ask most Americans about their impressions of Iranian women and “lighthearted” is not a word one would expect to hear. But that is exactly what photojournalist Randy H. Goodman found to be true in 2015 while working in a changing Iran.
Goodman’s first trip to Iran was during the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1980 when she traveled with a small delegation of graduate students, a rarefied assignment for a budding photojournalist. Since then she has returned to Iran many times and over the course of years has captured remarkable and provocative images that reflect a change in Iran, especially in the role of women. Her exhibition of photos and the compelling story of Goodman’s reports will challenge your perception of everyday life for women in Iran.
In a country that still does not view women as equal to men, policies are based on Iran’s Islamic rules. A sign in the Tehran metro reads, Women Only. The first and last cars of the metro are segregated for women for their safety and security. Women are permitted to sit in other cars among men, but are limited to seats in the back. In contrast, many women in Iran today own their own businesses that cater to women, as seen in the image Women’s Taxi. The photo features a woman driver covered in a black chador driving her bright green taxi.
Goodman’s portraits show lives of today’s Iranian woman and their playful spirits doing ordinary things like shopping, recording videos on smartphones, painting their nails, and wearing colorful clothing. In a black and white photo from 1983, two young girls, their heads covered by black and white hajibs, cover their mouths bashfully as they giggle. In contrast, a 2015 color photo portrays twin sisters covered with floral headscarves and smiling broadly.
Randy Goodman’s photographs of Iran have been published in newspapers and magazines throughout the world including Egypt, France, Hong Kong, Great Britain, Libya, Italy, and Venezuela. She has also captured images in Nicaragua (1982), Grenada (1987) and Cuba (1990), and has served as a freelance photographer for United Press International and Gamma Liaison Photo News Agency (now Getty Images). She is currently writing a memoir of her Iran experiences.
Iran: Women Only
Photographs by Randy H. Goodman
Wednesday, October 17 – Friday, December 14
Opening Reception, Tuesday, October 16, 6:00PM