Iran’s first group of female cadets graduated from the Tehran Police Academy in 2003, after three years of intensive training. These two striking photographs (see also M.2015.2) were captured at a 2005 graduation ceremony. As part of their rite of passage, the all-female police units practiced martial arts, brandished their weapons, performed chase routines, and scaled walls. In keeping with the staged nature of the police pageantry, each scene is carefully framed like a still image from an action film or television show, adding to their ironic and subtle commentary on contemporary Iranian society.
Abbas Kowsari has worked as a photojournalist and photo editor for a number of leading Iranian newspapers. His press credentials have often provided him with rare opportunities as a fine art photographer. A documentarian of everyday life in Iran, he captures imagery not commonly seen in Western media. His work has been exhibited in Paris, New York, Damascus, and Tehran.