On March 8 1979, Hengameh Golestan (born in Tehran; 1952) was in Tehran when 100,000 women marched in protest against new laws passed one day earlier that made wearing the hijab (veil) in public compulsory for all women.
“This was taken at the beginning of the demonstration. I was walking beside this group of women, who were talking and joking. Everyone was happy for me to take their picture. You can see in their faces they felt joyful and powerful. The Iranian revolution had taught us that if we wanted something, we should go out into the street and demand it… My first thought was: ‘It’s my responsibility to document this.’… I knew I had witnessed something historic. I was so proud of all the women. I wanted to show the best of us.”
“This turned out to be the last day women walked the streets of Tehran uncovered. It was our first disappointment with the new post-revolution rulers of Iran. We didn’t get the effect we had wanted. But when I look at this photo, I don’t just see the hijab looming over it. I see the women, the solidarity, the joy – and the strength we felt.” – Hengameh Golestan
“They were demanding the freedom of choice. It wasn’t a protest against religion or beliefs, in fact many religious women joined the protest, this was strictly about women’s rights, it was all about having the option.” – Hengameh Golestan
“In the days before selfies, Photoshop and citizen journalism, photos were vital, a visual document that might otherwise not be seen. For me, taking a picture was a way to document events that were happening around me, no matter what my opinion was of the event, the camera was still objective at that point, it was just recording the truth.” – Hengameh Golestan