Fire Atish of Atar and Cypress of Abarkuh

Inspired by the resilience of women in Iran and around the world, this series of photographs captured by Morgan White celebrates female strength, community, and potential in the face of widespread oppression.
Sepehr Badiei a queer artist that uses an unusual medium: hair, collected from women and transwomen  around the world, which is a symbol of beauty and provocation at the same time. Set in opposing themes of fire and tree of life (motif) , the series features two women and references to Persian culture. 

Cypress – Model Sarah Q embodies the cypress tree, sacred in Persian culture as the representation of the tree of life and reincarnation. Surrounded by branches wrapped with hair, her serene power radiates from the images in a display of the collective possibilities of the unity of global women. 

Fire – Model and dancer Dafni Krazoudi represents fire which is linked to purity in the religion of Zoroastrianism. She harnesses the symbols of several ancient Persian traditions and the holy fire for the Assyrian civilization. 

Badiei states: “I want to combat one-note Western conceptions of Iranian women, linking the people of my homeland to the rest of the world and shepherding the culture into a modern place, in an effort to shift the focus onto the beauty of stories of female strength.

A Tribute to Afghan Woman Through Challenging Times Under the Shadow of the Taliban.

The Curse (Nefrin) 

In a world where beauty parlours are banned
Why restrict the freedom to express
Why deny her rights, her choices, her flair?
New life restrictions, a path to despair.
For each strand of hair, life’s whip will sting,
Barred from her love and tender touch it will bring.

Bound by rules of vice and virtue, 

Freedom lost, future unknown,

Remember, resilience will rise,

Seeking liberation, where beauty never dies.
with these unjust deeds,
You risk burning in the fire of hell 
you will see. 
Her glow illuminates 
soaring above 
in dreams she’s chanting 
Woman life freedom

Follow Sepehr Badiei on Instagram

Artist: Sepehr Badiei in partnership with Uncle
Photography: Morgan White
Models: Sarah Q
Movement Director & Model: Dafni Krazoudi
Personal Assistant: Vinchy Chan
Makeup: Jinny Kim & Kevin Cordo
Clothing: Maximilian Raynor, Sebastien Kwok, Shannen Maria Samuel
Shoes: Natacha Marro & Luca Bosani
Retouching: Helen Bykova
CGI Art: Paula Jakubiak & Ai Hui
Graphic Design: Oli
Words: Zoe Guttenplan
Poem: Sepehr Badiei
Special thanks to Big Sky Studios