Born in 1981, this self-taught photojournalist began shooting for a women's daily newspaper in Tehran when she was just 16. She was the youngest photographer to cover the 1999 student uprising in Iran, and by 2002, she was covering the war in Iraq. At the center of this image, taken in the Hejab Sport Complex, is 23-year-old Yasaman Karimi, a supporter of reformist candidate Mohammad Reza Aref. "The lighting and the expressions on the faces of this group of girls, who I had never met before, made it feel like a movie set," recalls Tavakolian. Born and raised in Tehran, she has a love—hate relationship with the city. "For me, this is home-with all its complexity. My pictures can turn out with an abundance of happiness as well as an excruciating amount of pain."
In the early 1990s, the Russia-born, Paris-based photographer was commissioned by the New York Times Magazine to photograph China's rising wave of avant-garde artists. "The places I visited just blew my mind," says Pinkhassov. "When I wasn't working on my assignment with the artists, I would wander the streets and explore a different world, with its habits, food, and traditions. Nowadays our lifestyles have become alike, [but] back then the differ- ence in cultures was tremendous." He was particularly taken by Beijing's bike culture: "I liked the sound of bicycles chirping. Cars were still rare, and the city streets would flow into one big bicycle stream." He found the locals to be open and friendly. "I could take pictures right in front of anybody, and they pretended I did not exist," says Pinkhassov. Recently, he has embraced lnstagram, amassing more than 88,000 followers, and in April, he hosted a five-day mobile phone photography workshop in—where else?—Beijing.