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'Stupendously Photogenic' Iran

New Zealand photographer Amos Chapple has made three reporting trips to Iran since 2011. He visited areas that he described as "stupendously photogenic" but was more interested in uncovering unfamiliar facets of Iranian society. He said that every foreigner he met was taken aback to find that the real Iran differs greatly from the way it is depicted in the Western media. One of the greatest surprises for Chapple was that although the government continues to incite anti-Western sentiment, he felt nothing but goodwill from ordinary Iranians. (21 PHOTOS)

Clouds over a village in the mountainous borderlands with Iraq, near the site where three American hikers were arrested in 2009
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Clouds over a village in the mountainous borderlands with Iraq, near the site where three American hikers were arrested in 2009

A shepherd leads his flock out to pasture in the mountains on the Iran-Iraq border.
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A shepherd leads his flock out to pasture in the mountains on the Iran-Iraq border.

The Vakil Mosque in Shiraz attracts a slow trickle of visitors. Although tourism is on the increase, Western tourists make up only 10 percent of the total. One tour guide told Chapple that Westerners are scared away by the Iranian government's fierce rhetoric.
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The Vakil Mosque in Shiraz attracts a slow trickle of visitors. Although tourism is on the increase, Western tourists make up only 10 percent of the total. One tour guide told Chapple that Westerners are scared away by the Iranian government's fierce rhetoric.

A slogan on the wall of the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Murals like this one are at odds with statistics showing that despite ongoing U.S. sanctions, more Iranians feel positively about America than do Turks or Indians.
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A slogan on the wall of the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Murals like this one are at odds with statistics showing that despite ongoing U.S. sanctions, more Iranians feel positively about America than do Turks or Indians.

A view of central Tehran from inside a minaret in Sepahsalar Mosque
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A view of central Tehran from inside a minaret in Sepahsalar Mosque

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran houses a collection of modern art valued at $2.5 billion. In a little-publicized exhibition in 2011, works by Andy Warhol (pictured), Jackson Pollock, Edvard Munch, Mark Rothko, and others went on display for the first time since 1979, when their owner, Queen Farah Pahlavi, was forced to flee Iran with her husband, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
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The Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran houses a collection of modern art valued at $2.5 billion. In a little-publicized exhibition in 2011, works by Andy Warhol (pictured), Jackson Pollock, Edvard Munch, Mark Rothko, and others went on display for the first time since 1979, when their owner, Queen Farah Pahlavi, was forced to flee Iran with her husband, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Young twins ride on the Tehran Metro.
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Young twins ride on the Tehran Metro.

At the Saadabad Palace complex in northern Tehran, Islamic revolutionaries sawed a statue of the deposed Shah in half. Today schoolchildren pass by the boots on their way into the palace to see the decadence of the former Shah's living quarters.
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At the Saadabad Palace complex in northern Tehran, Islamic revolutionaries sawed a statue of the deposed Shah in half. Today schoolchildren pass by the boots on their way into the palace to see the decadence of the former Shah's living quarters.

A commemorative plate of the former Shah of Iran, overthrown in February 1979, in an antique store in Shiraz.
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A commemorative plate of the former Shah of Iran, overthrown in February 1979, in an antique store in Shiraz.

A young man walks by stained glass windows at the Tehran Bazaar. More than half of all Iranians are under the age of 30. Although the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini encouraged Iranians to produce large families, young Iranians are now seen as the biggest threat to the conservative Islamic regime.
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A young man walks by stained glass windows at the Tehran Bazaar. More than half of all Iranians are under the age of 30. Although the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini encouraged Iranians to produce large families, young Iranians are now seen as the biggest threat to the conservative Islamic regime.

Carvings in Persepolis, the seat of the ancient Persian empire
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Carvings in Persepolis, the seat of the ancient Persian empire

People on the street in Mashhad, a city in the east of Iran, near the Afghan border. Eastern Iran is generally more conservative and Islamic than the West.
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People on the street in Mashhad, a city in the east of Iran, near the Afghan border. Eastern Iran is generally more conservative and Islamic than the West.

Women in the hills above Tehran at dusk
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Women in the hills above Tehran at dusk

A crowd of young men attack two soldiers on the Tehran Metro in the midst of an argument. Both soldiers were forced to leave the metro at the next station.
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A crowd of young men attack two soldiers on the Tehran Metro in the midst of an argument. Both soldiers were forced to leave the metro at the next station.

The Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran. Work on the unfinished building has lasted for more than 23 years. With a growing economic crisis in the country, its completion is still nowhere in sight.
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The Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran. Work on the unfinished building has lasted for more than 23 years. With a growing economic crisis in the country, its completion is still nowhere in sight.

The village of Palangan near the Iraqi border. The village has benefited handsomely from government support. Many villagers are employed in a nearby fish farm, or are paid members of the Basij militia, whose remit includes preserving the values of the 1979 revolution and preventing what officials have labeled "westoxification."
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The village of Palangan near the Iraqi border. The village has benefited handsomely from government support. Many villagers are employed in a nearby fish farm, or are paid members of the Basij militia, whose remit includes preserving the values of the 1979 revolution and preventing what officials have labeled "westoxification."

Two shepherds lead communally-owned sheep out to pasture in Palangan.
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Two shepherds lead communally-owned sheep out to pasture in Palangan.

A Kurdish girl in Palangan village. The valley is so steep here that the roofs of many house serve as the yards of the houses above.
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A Kurdish girl in Palangan village. The valley is so steep here that the roofs of many house serve as the yards of the houses above.

A Kurdish man settles in for a night of guarding roadwork machinery in the mountains near the Iraqi border. The border is rife with smugglers who carry alcohol from Iraq (where alcohol is legal) into the villages on the Iranian side. In Tehran, a can of beer on the black market fetches around $10.
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A Kurdish man settles in for a night of guarding roadwork machinery in the mountains near the Iraqi border. The border is rife with smugglers who carry alcohol from Iraq (where alcohol is legal) into the villages on the Iranian side. In Tehran, a can of beer on the black market fetches around $10.

A man washes a gravestone at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in Tehran, dedicated to some 200,000 victims of the Iran-Iraq war. At times, fountains at the cemetery have been filled with red dye to represent the blood of martyrs.
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A man washes a gravestone at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in Tehran, dedicated to some 200,000 victims of the Iran-Iraq war. At times, fountains at the cemetery have been filled with red dye to represent the blood of martyrs.

A group of friends in the hills above Tehran. Chapple reports that many young Iranians feel deeply embarrassed by their government and the way the nation is perceived abroad.
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A group of friends in the hills above Tehran. Chapple reports that many young Iranians feel deeply embarrassed by their government and the way the nation is perceived abroad.

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