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Beneath the Chador

Women’s Center exhibits alumna’s Iran photos

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Watch this video on YouTube

In the slideshow above listen to Randy H. Goodman discuss her exhibition Iran: Images from Beneath a Chador. Photos by Randy H. Goodman

In 1980, photographer Randy Hope Goodman was part of a grass-roots delegation of American journalists and academics invited to Iran by the anti-American students who took over the U.S. Embassy there in 1979. The American group came to try to understand the takeover and the resulting 444-day Iran hostage crisis.

Now, 30 years after her initial trip to the Middle East, Goodman (CAS’77, GRS’79) has created a traveling exhibition of images that focus on the Iranian women she came in contact with during her first visit and two subsequent trips, in 1981 and 1983. Iran: Images from Beneath a Chador opens tonight at the Women’s Resource Center and showcases photographs of women living in Iran during the time of the embassy occupation and the Iran-Iraq War.

Although largely a photographic novice in 1980, Goodman, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology, was the group’s photographer, recording on film the delegation’s time in Iran and the post-revolution ethos there. She wanted “to document photographically what all of these other people were there to learn about,” she says, “but also it ended up being, unexpectedly for me, a means to come back to the United States and do what I felt I needed to do, which was to share that experience.”

The hostage-takers told the members of the delegation that the takeover was primarily in response to the U.S. decision to allow Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to be admitted to the United States. The shah was overthrown during the Iranian revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini.

The word chador in the exhibition’s title refers to a cloak worn by Iranian women in public, and speaks to “what it looked like from the perspective of the women,” Goodman says. “At BU, I’m trying to shift and make it mostly for an appeal to women in that time.”

Iran: Images from Beneath a Chador opens tonight, Tuesday, November 9, at the Women’s Resource Center, in the George Sherman Union, lower level, 775 Commonwealth Ave., at 6:30 p.m. There will be a reception and a gallery talk by Goodman. Admission is free and open to the public. The exhibition runs through November 30.

Brendan Gauthier can be reached at btgauth@bu.edu.

2 Comments

2 Comments on Beneath the Chador

  • Anonymous on 11.09.2010 at 1:39 pm

    Very interesting images and social commentary.

  • خرید اینترنتی on 05.06.2011 at 7:55 am

    These are great photos not seen by many Iranians. I have shared this page on Iranian social media and hope more people will get to see them.

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