The travel experiences of Paul Theroux in Iran 30 years ago are a stark contrast to the news reports coming out of this nation today. In recent years, most media has succeeded in painting a sinister image of Iran as an unfriendly destination for travelers. This resulted into dwindling arrivals of travelers in a country known for its rich history dating back to many centuries when the world’s earliest civilizations existed in this region where the vast Persian empire thrived. The recent development of improved US-Iran relations has rekindled the interest and re-opened the gates to this nation, not only in the field of politics and business but also for travelers to take a renewed look at Iran. Today, more and more tourists are seeing Iran as a more fascinating and interesting travel option. It is like going back to Theroux’ time when traveling to Iran was similar to just holidaying at any other exotic country. Reinforcing that belief is photographer Hanif Shoaei (@hanifshoaei), whose Instagram images shows an inside look at the splendor of life in Iran not seen in the news headlines. “My photos reveal that Iran is not what you see in the media,” says Hanif, a Tehran-based documentary photographer. “It is only a part of a big picture.”, he adds.
Hanif’s Instagram feed peppers his more than 23,000 followers with normal scenes of families walking in the park, children going to school, women taking selfies against the scenic Caspian Sea, men reading newspapers and traders plying their crafts in the streets. The series of everyday images taken by Hanif are in stark contrast to what the rest of the world is told about Iran. Just recently, Iran culminated its celebration of the “Persian New Year” with a 13-day festival highlighting more great things to come. Hanif is hoping that through his photographs of his beloved country, more travelers will be enticed to visit in the future. Hanif tells Instagram blog: “Gestures of affection and thoughtfulness will ensure a full and happy year.”
See below some of Hanif’s candid shots of everyday life in Iran;
A general view of Northern #Tehran city from Tabi'at (Nature) bridge during #Nowrouz holidays on March 26, 2015. #everydaymiddleeast #everydayeverywhere #formatevidence #mpnselects #gettyreportage #reportagespotlight #featureshoot #burndiary #everydayiran #gettyimagesinstagramgrant#picturesofpeopletakingpictures #LensCultureStreets @lensculture #fotoistanbul2015 @fotoistanbultr