For some, colored fashion contact lenses are an easy way to change their look and startle their friends, or a spooky accessory to a Halloween costume, but for Shirin Aliabadi, they’re a powerful symbol of rebellion.
Along with plastic surgery, facial piercings, and the ever-controversial veil, colorful contact lenses are part of an evolving body of fashion statements that young people, women in particular, can use to push the envelope of what the Iranian government deems acceptable modes of dress in a Muslim society.
Aliabadi, who graduated from the University of Paris with a degree in art history and archaeology, lives and works in Tehran. Her most recent series of photographs, titled Miss Hybrid, shows young women flouting the moors of the powers that be, and exploring the boundary zones of Western and Middle Eastern standards of beauty.
Aliabadi began taking these photos back in 2006, and she finds her subjects in the streets or local stores of her hometown. She approaches the subject of religion, and the role of women in her country with a touch of irreverence both in her work and in interviews. Her photographs were on display for much of June at the Gallery Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris and some of her work, such as the portrait above, can still be viewed online.