Bronze 2017 / Moving images / Documentary_MV

Because We Were Lost – On the Road with the Iranian Youth

In Iran people and government are two diametrically different worlds: this is significantly evident for the privileged youth, studying and populating the main cities of the country. On one side, they are immersed in the rich traditional culture of the Persian heritage, which is imbued with Islamism. On the other side, they are always more influenced by the influx of global culture, which is moulding people lifestyles and visions of reality. Despite the government censorship on blogs, international news sources, and social networks - exacerbated after the ‘green movement’ which shook the country in 2009 - the impact of the medias have accelerated an unprecedented process of transformation amongst Iran’s youth. Cable TV, Internet and social networks, accessed by proxy programs, have become enlightening channels of information and methods of congregation for the youth. Where the Orwellian gaze of the system can’t reach, an alternative and parallel reality unfolds, a world a side, with other values and other dominant rules. In private the real culture of the metropolitan contemporary Iran develops, open to western and oriental influences, open to change and hungry for diversity. Young people gather together in parks and at private parties, which attract many people as they seek of fun. But what is becoming increasingly appealing for the youngster of Iran is the spirit of free traveling, which has already become a lifestyle for many. Hitchhiking without money nor destination, sleeping in tents, or in unknown people houses, climbing mountains and chilling at the beach, improvising parties in every situation and especially sharing their photos and discoveries in social networks like Instagram, Telegram and Couch Surfing, which are all extremely popular amongst Iranians. Ako, the Kurdish tramp I have been following around his journeys with his friends, has already become very popular in Instagram with over 27k followers. His photos depict the daily life in Iran, mixing the images of his way of living and traveling with the ones of the many different people and ethnics of Iran. His work is a subtle attempt to spread a culture of love, courage and openness amongst the people of his generation, which often fall into depressions because of their own perceived lack of freedom in Iran, or resort to leaving the country is they have the chance to.