Iran is Pink

The color pink is usually associated with women; it has been a sign of fragile femininity and domesticity since the 40s, but more recently it has been turned just on its opposite. In reaction to that objectification of the woman, from the 70s onwards pink has become a sign of revolution, a strong socio-political statement. The Ramones and The Clash made it punk, Madonna made it strong and powerful. Pink has gone from being feminine to be feminist.

The Maharlu Lake is a seasonal salt lake, few kilometres south of Shiraz. It is also known as the Pink Lake, due to the bright pink hues given by the high salt concentration. Being very shallow, the water evaporates quickly leaving exposed vast empty areas, which become informal meeting spots.

In search for some sort of freedom, women and men come here to chat, have a picnic in the quietness of the extensive dried land. Here they can hug each other "freely", women can spend few hours with their hijab lowered on their shoulders, no one can see. The freedom of normality. 

Or the normality of freedom?

The way the color pink has been perceived by society has changed over the years, from being considered feminine, and erotic, to being kitsch, then sophisticated till transgressive, hip and androgynous. There is something complex and controversial about this color which seemed appropriate to use it as a thread to document different aspects about this complex Country: from a lake symbol of freedom to cotton threads and fabrics, from Nasir al-Mulk Mosque to a soft light that turns everything pink. 

This is the beginning of a story which is still in the making. 

As this project is still VERY work in progress it will definitely evolve, hopefully in unexpected ways;

I could talk about pink being typically worn by man in Rajasthan, about the "pink princess" Western myth or about Israel Pinkwashing.

I'm still not sure, but more to come.

 © 2023 Claudia Orsetti 

Freelance Photographer