A father’s memorial, a building-wide singalong, a phone call with a stranger. Photographer NEWSHA TAVAKOLIAN documents the strange, suspended state of life in the country for National Geographic.
I head out to take pictures of the coronavirus crisis in Tehran. In Iran we are used to crises and we adjust quickly to new realities. I put on latex gloves, place a mask over my mouth and nose, and pack a sterilizer in my camera bag. The new normal. Streets that would normally be bustling with people and cars are deserted. I try to breathe through my mask. It’s suffocating. I feel as if I’ve stepped into some dystopian future.
I pull the mask down. A sweet whiff of spring hangs in the air. Here, this means the Iranian New Year is upon us. For millennia, way before Islam and other religions, Iranians would start their year celebrating the eternal cycle of defeat of light over darkness. On the first day of spring families, friends, and loved ones gather to wish for a healthy New Year.
But this year we are told to stay home by the authorities. They mismanaged the crisis and are now, at best, struggling to contain it. Iran is one of the worst hit places. We don’t know where it will end and are worried.
One of my favorite uncles, a tall and gentle giant, is fighting coronavirus. At home. All hospitals are so full that they have placed beds in parking lots and stadiums. “Stay home, don’t move, maybe you’ll live,” overworked doctors told him. They gave him some pills. We hope he will live.
Read the full article from National Geographic