Parisa Damandan is a photographer and art historian graduated at Teheran University, author of the book “Portrait photographs from Isfahan: Faces in transition, 1920-1950“, a volume that shows the stories of Isfahan, Iranian city with over a million and a half inhabitants, through the pictures of those people that used to live there between 1920 and 1950.

The pictures displayed in this article, coming from Mrs Damandan’s book, have been hard to retrieve due to the laws established by the “Islamic Republic of Iran” in 1979. Many photographic albums got burnt as well as many studies and films of the photographers of that time.

The description in the book explains the genesis of those beautiful pictures:

The Institution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in 1979 imposed the hijab to women and pictures of those uncovered parts of flesh became forbidden. As a consequence, many photographic studies were set on fire while the glass negatives put back in dusty lofts. Parisa Damandan spent more than ten years gathering pioneering snaps from the early ‘900 in her native city of Isfahan.

The women appears in different styles of clothing, but apart from that it is also possible to observe Polish war refugees on the run from Nazism, man with fashionable hats and also turbans and traditional capes. These pictures offer a window on the drastic mutation of the Iranian society, transition period from a traditional type of culture to a modern one.

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It would be curious to know what the modern Iranian women think about such a topic, busy looking for creative solutions while having to respect the rigid dress code the government has imposed on them.

Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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