Randy Goodman: The Eyes for America in Iran

For Randy Goodman, photography has provided more than photo shoots. Armed with her camera she has dedicated her professional life to documenting revolutionary movements. During her remarkable career she has been the eyes for America in some of the world’s most sensitive conflicts. In college, she was invited to Iran with an American delegation to photograph. She fell in love with Iran and its people. Little did she know that she would soon be on center stage of world politics.

In 1979, she was at the heart Iranian hostage crisis. At the height of the crisis she was re-invited back to Iran, along with one other american reporter, because the Iranian student group trusted that their work accurately depicted them. She went along with with a delegation of 50 American students of diverse backgrounds requested specifically by the Iranian student group. The idea was that they would be able to inform their respective communities of the true nature of Iranians. Both the Americans and the Iranians found common ground and understood each other. Randy Goodman saw this as the special aspect of the crisis.

Interestingly, some of the documents that were shredded by the embassy staff during the takeover, were reassembled by the Iranians and distributed to showcase the true-face of American policy towards Iran. Mrs. Goodman had kept some of the publications and when she tried to bring them back into the United States they were confiscated. Fascinatingly, she successfully sued the CIA and was able to get the books back along with some of her photos.

Randy Goodman’s ultimate goal was to portray Iranians the way she saw them. Friends, students, and just people wanting to be recognized. She was often frustrated at the media blackout back in the states and the stereotypes it perpetuated. Her work is a testament to seeking the truth and how hard it can be to tell it.

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