Tehran-based photographer Shadi Ghadirian explores the many issues that modern women face, including culture, religion, and individuality. Her series, Miss Butterfly, is a collection of black and white photographs filled with strong symbolism and powerfully striking visual elements.
Each image features a single woman diligently working to complete an intricate spider web within a domestic setting. The cold and empty environment produces feelings of isolation and disconnect with the surrounding world. According to one review, “The web is not only a recurring motif but also a symbol of the existing social structures in Iran that are restrictive towards women.”
To go along with the powerful imagery, Ghadirian created a story that tells of a young butterfly who has lost her way and is greeted with an offer from a spider. He will help her find her way to the sunshine if she brings him an insect for him to feast on. Rather than sacrificing another, she offers herself to the spider, who is so impressed by her courage that he lets her have her freedom. When she offers freedom to the others, she gets no reply and, in frustration, she spreads her wings and flies away.