Iran: Women Only focuses on the contemporary women of Iran, with a look back at the early work that Randy Goodman started almost four decades ago. Then, just 24-years-old, and with virtually no experience in photography, Goodman found herself unexpectedly pressed into the role of photojournalist, when she joined her mentor and colleague, journalist William Worthy, Jr., to cover the occupation of the US Embassy in Tehran. The “Iran Hostage Crisis,” as it became known, began on November 4, 1979 when hundreds of Iranian students stormed the US Embassy, taking 52 Americans hostage. Lasting 444 days, this action shattered the relationship between these two former allies. With the experience of Iranian history unraveling in front of her camera, Goodman, and Worthy managed to obtain exclusive journalist visas in both 1981 and 1983, when all US media were banned from Iran. Working for CBS-TV News and TIME magazine respectively, Goodman navigated her way across the war-torn country in search of the indefinable images that would help bring understanding to what was the enigma of Iran.
In producing this exhibit, Goodman chose to return to Iran in 2015 to search for many of those she photographed decades earlier. But, the ravages of war and time lead to records lost, faded friendships, changed addresses and discoveries of others thought to have perished. Despite this, Goodman shows us two women she managed to track down, both who were among those behind the Embassy takeover. One appears in the B&W photo titled “Embassy Women,” taken in 1980, and rose to become the first female vice president of Iran. Goodman’s recent photograph of her shows her regal bearing beaming from the frame. Here we become privy to the innermost feelings of two women (one the photographer, the other the vice president), each no longer young, reunited by the camera across a daunting gulf of history, culture, and time.