Carlos Cazalis Photography


“In order to live in Tehran, you have to lie. Morals don’t come into it: lying in Tehran is about survival.” -–Ramita Navai.

These are the words for nearly 15 million people living in metropolitan Tehran. Truth she says has become a commodity, highly prized and handled with great care. Tehran is a city besieged by ideology from a form of government that hinders and censors the voice of its citizens. What does it mean for millions of people, with an ancestral culture, to live in fear of speaking their mind? How does a city in two parts, a modern north and a conservative south, judge one another as morally opposite equivalents?

The need to dissimulate however becomes egalitarian, –no class boundaries or religious discrimination when it comes to deceit. The psychology of a city grows slowly mad. Children are instructed to lie about their family’s secretive wine making, shopkeepers safeguard their customers as they eat, drink and smoke during religious fasting, men cry theatrically and ceremoniously for the Iman Hossein to reassure their faith onto others while young women wear hijabs to conceal their true sexual desires.

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