Imagine this situation, that of a youth in Iran. Iran, as we know it through our media, does not suggest the development of youth. But behind a stifling political system and inquisitive clichés, young people dream of a break-up while proudly defending Iranian culture. Everyone challenges the prohibitions in their own way to try to define their freedoms and draw a progressive path to change. Because the ardor of youth has no borders or ideology.

Some want to emigrate in the hope of a better future, others decide to stay and dream of a simpler future. They are between 16 and 35 years old and have confided in each other through informal conversations. These photographs offer a sensitive encounter with a curious but disenchanted Iranian youth, while offering a reflection on identity within a society that still seems to refuse their freedom.

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Iranian youth are receptive to the artistic world, especially in Tehran. The capital’s galleries are very successful and the cultural offer is constantly diversifying. Exhibitions have become real meeting places. For photographer Fatimah Hossaini, 25, “Government restrictions have an important role to play in this phenomenon. Art becomes a means of emancipation”.

In the underprivileged districts of southern Tehran, a more “traditional” youth is emerging. Here, men are looking for male interlocutors, avoiding speaking to women out of modesty. In this context, men openly use the street space while female self-places develop away from prying eyes.

The island of Qeshm is a desert land whose culture is based on the sea and fishing. Qeshm is a godsend for Iranian youth – who come from the city – who want to escape diplomatic police surveillance during a tourist stays in the south of the country.

Meisam expresses his concerns about his military service, which begins in a few days. He does not know how to bring money into the home, nor who will take care of his sick wife, he’s 18 years old at the time.

Ali & Majid are gradually distancing themselves from drugs. Drug use among young Iranians seems to be the response to a disease in which young people do not know how to find their place among traditions that can be full of responsibilities.