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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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photography, black and white, shadow, documentary, tehran, User Feature, Instagram,

Finding the Drama of Light and Shadow in Tehran with @f64s125

For more of Ako’s street images from Tehran, follow @f64s125 on Instagram.

In the nooks and crannies of Tehran’s streets, photojournalist Ako Salemi (@f64s125) finds the moments when light, shadow, environment and people all come together in exquisite balance. “Sometimes I shoot just from the hip,” says Ako, “and sometimes I wait for ‘the decisive moment’ when the action, the light and all other elements make the right composition.”

Ako’s passion for black and white images began at an early age when he discovered a love for the classic films of Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, and Ingmar Bergman. He even graduated with a degree in drama hoping to be a filmmaker. But it was his shy demeanor and introverted character that led him to realize that he is better suited to what he calls “an art that can be made in solitude.”

Ako began expressing his visual ideas through photography and for the past two years has turned to Instagram to share his vision of street life in Tehran. “It’s as if I am having a non-judgmental dialogue with each of these Instagram friends that could not be expressed in words. I’m showing a piece of my city’s life and a piece of me.”

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Azadi Tower, tehran, location feature,

Tehran’s Azadi Tower (برج آزادی)

For more photos and videos of the Azadi Tower, check out the Azadi Square | میدان آزادی location page.

The Azadi Tower (برج آزادی) sits at the west entrance to Tehran, Iran, and is the city’s most iconic structure. Composed of eight thousand blocks of white marble stone quarried in the Esfahan region, the tower’s construction was financed by a group of five hundred Iranian industrialists. Construction finished in 1971 to commemorate the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian Empire. Originally the structure was named Shahyad Tower (شهیاد آریامهر), meaning “Kings’ Memorial,” but was dubbed Azadi or “Freedom” (برج آزادی) after the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

The tower sits in the middle of Tehran’s famous Azadi Square, the site of many of the demonstrations leading up to the Iranian Revolution on 12 December 1979. With the rich history that surrounds it, the Azadi Tower is part of a greater cultural complex including a museum underneath the structure.