It’s not every day a young American photographer decides to pick up and leave for Iran given the thirty years of raging hostility between the U.S. and Iran – but then again, Brandon Stanton is not every photographer.
Many know Stanton from his Facebook page Humans Of New York (HONY), which in his own words provides "a photographic census of New York City."
Stanton told the Huffington Post
My photographs weren't interesting because of the people. They were interesting because of the interactions that I was having with those people. Often it's nothing more than the relationship between a nervous person and a strange photographer… A lot of times I ask these people very personal questions, and they'll answer. They'll tell me everything because a lot of times I'm the only one who's ever asked. I can just tell when I talk to them-- eight million people in this city, and nobody's ever asked about their life.
In early December, Stanton took his visual census all the way to the Middle East, and not to just any country: Iran aka the Islamic Republic aka the axis of evil aka the country where there has been no U.S. embassy since the 1979 hostage taking.
On his website Stanton wrote about his trip:
“Americans are especially loved. This was noted in every travel account that I read, and I can confirm the fact. You will be smiled at, waved at, invited to meals, and asked to deliver personal messages to Jennifer Lopez. American music, movies, and media are thoroughly consumed by the people of Iran. Like all countries, there are many different viewpoints, but the vast majority of people will associate you with a culture they admire and respect.”
With the help of an interpreter, Stanton spent two weeks travelling around the country and obtaining street portraits of ordinary Iranians. His photo series received an effusive response worldwide, and particularly from Iranians, who avidly shared and commented on his work.
"Brandon's work has emerged as a great way of breaking media-propagated stereotypes against Iran and showing the real face of Iran to the world," Iran's Pendar magazine wrote.
"While there have been similar travel photo collections on Iran, the reason behind Stanton's growing success and popularity is the manner in which he engages the subjects of his photography," Pendar adds.
Check out Stanton's amazing photos in the slideshow below: