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Eyes on Iran

Taarof is a Persian term that describes a certain kind of social negotiation among Iranians. “It’s this game that starts off whenever you see friends,” says Afsoon Talai, “this exchange and back and forth.” Talai is the visual editor of a new magazine called B|ta’arof that is interested in exchange of the cultural kind—among members of the Iranian community, wherever they live; and between them and the rest of the world.

The cover of B|Ta’arof’s first issue. Illustration by Kaveh Keshmiri.

The editors of B|ta’arof—whose first issue includes oral histories, a feature on 1960s Iranian pop, and calligraphic nursery rhymes—were either born in Iran and raised in the United States or, like Talai, born here to Iranian parents. Their hope is that, in addition to providing a space for Iranian artists and writers to share their work, the magazine will open Western eyes to Iranian culture. “Iran is always shown in the same way—terrorism, nuclear weapons,” Talai says. “We’re presenting another side, another light of being Iranian.”

Click the spreads to view larger versions.

Photograph by Hossein Khiabanian, from the first issue of B|Ta’arof.

Photographs by Hossein Khiabanian, from the first issue of B|Ta’arof.


October issue of Print. Purchase the issue, or download a PDF version, from MyDesignShop.com.








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