Hengameh Golestan is a pioneer among Iranian women photographers. She has been documenting live in Iran for twenty-eight years. She has photographed vast numbers of women and children, instances of family life, traditional wedding and everyday life in Iran.
During the revolution, she captured moments of rebellion on the part of women. She photographed the last day for Iranian women without the hejab(veil), when group of women from every profession – nurses, students, theathers – took part in an enormous demonstration which ended with them being attacked and stabbed in the streets of Tehran.
These photographs below document the day in March 1979 when more than 100,000 women gathered on the streets of Tehran to protest against the new Islamic government’s hijab law, which ordered women to wear a headscarf to leave the house.
“This was taken at the beginning of the demonstration,” Golestan told The Guardian. “I was walking beside this group of women, who were talking and joking. Everyone was happy for me to take their picture. You can see in their faces they felt joyful and powerful. The Iranian revolution had taught us that if we wanted something, we should go out into the street and demand it.
“I wanted to join in all the protests during the revolution, but I knew I had to go as a photographer. My first thought was: “It’s my responsibility to document this.” I’m rather small, so I was ducking in and out of the crowd, constantly taking photos. I took about 20 rolls of film. When the day was over, I ran home to develop them in my dark room. I knew I had witnessed something historic. I was so proud of all the women. I wanted to show the best of us.”
(Photos by Hengameh Golestan)