These stunningly beautiful photos show what ordinary life in Iran is like

The city of Tehran seen from the Milad Tower. (Francesca Manolino)

Sahba, 19, English Literature student. She moved alone to Tehran to study. (Francesca Manolino)

Photographic work coming out of Iran isn’t necessarily a rarity. But the vast majority of the work is either focused on political photo ops or, when it tries to go beyond that, depictions of anti-Western sentiments (billboards) or just street scenes filled with veiled women or men drinking tea and smoking hookahs. Francesca Manolino’s work is different, though. It is quiet, intimate and poetic. She traveled to Iran and went beyond the usual things we see. In Sight spoke to Manolino to find out how she did this.

Manolino said she was inspired to go to Iran some 10 years ago after seeing the movie “Persepolis.” In college, she studied anthropology, and Farsi calligraphy began to fascinate her. Later, when she was studying for a master’s degree in photography, she became enraptured by the work of the Iranian visual artist, Shirin Neshat. Fast-forward to last year when Manolino began following some Iranian photographers on Instagram.

“I started to follow several Iranian Instagram profiles, and I found that a lot of them have an interesting point of view and a deep sensibility to images, deeper than usual,” she said. When Manolino finally headed to Iran, she would end up photographing some of the people she had met through Instagram. Indeed, just two hours after landing in Tehran, Manolino had already met one of her subjects, Sahba, with whom she would end up staying as a guest in her house in northern Tehran.


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