The Agony of Misconception is a photographic essay focused on perceptions of the Muslim community that have been conveyed by various media and are rooted in the social and political issues that are prevalent in the Middle East. Young Muslim residents of Utah were invited into the studio to be photographed. While I had them in the studio, I also asked them about any racism they had experienced because of their clothing or headscarf. As a foreigner in the U.S., I have a deep understanding of the pain experienced by Muslims in the face of disrespect and discrimination. Traditional and distinct styles of dress including robes, veils, and headdresses are seen as a key concept to Middle Eastern and Islamic beliefs; the patterns and colors vary from country to country. The fabrics and the different ways they are folded reveal the respect that these people have for their culture and religion. Their experiences inspired me to create this series in order to help others understand the cultures from which these people come.
Refugees from Burma is the photographic documentation of the Burmese Refugee community resettled in Utah. The series of photographs portraits refugees in their living room, inside the home they have built after being persecuted in Burma (actual Myanmar) because of their religious belief, then transferred to Thailand into a refugee camp and finally resettled in the United States. Showcases how political issues in their homeland country have obligated them to run away and find a new place where they can feel safe again. Despite the years these people have been away from their birth-roots we still see a consistency in the maintenance of their values and traditions.
Research Purpose: Documentation of the environment created by a foreign who flee their home-country and the visual maintenance of their culture.
Refugees are people who, for a variety of traumatizing reasons, are forced to leave the countries where they have been born and raised, often with no warning and with little help. We are currently experiencing one of the most significant refugee crises in history. About sixteen million refugees have fled their homes and they have no homes to return to. This humanitarian crisis is about more than people losing their land, it is also about loss of cultural heritage and loss of life. Syria, Somalia, and Palestine top the lists of countries refugees are fleeing. These refugees must now question their own understanding of their rights, history, cultural heritage, and land; but mostly they have to ask themselves, where is home now?
This series is my effort to tell the story of the refugees who I have photographed, and all refugees in a larger sense, with the hope that their stories will inspire more understanding of their situations and greater acceptance of them in their new communities.
Devotion is the photographic series that documents different religious practices and their own way of worshipping. In Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianism, and Islamism there are different way of praying, worshipping and celebrating a holiday attired to religious beliefs. Vibrant colors and different patterns are as well involved in these devotional acts that combine their culture together with their devotional practices. To devote towards something, has been and will be a practice that humans feel is a need to get throughout the human experience, many young practitioners feel proud to carry it in their culture and to devote themselves to their religious practices.
Foreign Places of Prayers decorating the lands of America, is the photo series that conceptualizes that as "foreigners" we do not only carry our bodies to another country at the moment we migrate from our homeland, but also our beliefs. Ideologies are not just an abstract thing, it does becomes concrete with the physical representation of it. Some Architectural buildings depict those ideologies that make visible an important branch of our culture like religions.
Photographic research that focuses on the impression of the Muslim community that has been transmitted by the media is rooted in the social and political issues that are prevalent in the Middle East. As a foreigner in the US myself, I have personally seen the pain and agony that Muslims encounter when they face criticism, disrespect, and discrimination. A lot of it is centered on appearance. The, traditional and often distinct, dressing style of the many countries in which Islam is the official religion is inspired by robes, veils and headdresses; the meaning of the patterns and colors varies depending the country. For men and women, the use of veils and headscarf is more than the stereotyped idea that our society has formed. These fabrics and the different ways it’s folded represents the heritage and devotion these people feel towards their culture and religion. Their pain has inspired me to bring understanding to the judgmental environment that has been created.
Half Pakistani half American "...but Palestine is in my heart."
Foreigners in North America is the photographic series of constructed snapshots featuring foreigners in their traditional clothing while they are in the streets of North America. Conceptualizes the process of preserving their cultural heritage; which is a common behavior in foreigners despite the process of adaptation. Leaving their home country elevates their perception of differences in between cultures in a way that displaying their heritage becomes a weapon to embrace diversity.
The way a culture is percieved to the eyes of an outsider is normally full of stereotypes (widely held but fixed and oversimplified idea of an particular person) These Stereotypes are not unreal but rather incomplete. The lack of information only represent a tiny part of a whole reality, this tiny part is percieved to be the whole true which is a reason for overwhelm and saturation for the people who lives and practice these cultures.
Stereotypes are biased concepts focused only on one story. This conceptual serie of three photograph support the story of a man how has lived his life in between two cultures. We are all shaped by our traditions and the beliefs of the culture we have been raised in, sometimes we carry with that weight through the development of our lives. Moving in into another country with a society completely different than ours may modifies our way of thinking to achieve the process of adaptation. This changes may result positive, but may slightly deviate us from our ancestors beliefs. The culture where we were raised in may reflect half of who we are. At the moment we move somewhere else we carry it, but we also let in part of the new culture we started living in and in the end, in between these two different type of beliefs there is us, without one or another, but nothing else than what we choose to take from each of them.
The Alternative photographic process is made by a coated plate with Collodion, which is a syrupy solution of nitrocellulose in a mixture of alcohol and ether, then a silver bath is given in order to make it sensitive to light. After the plate has been exposed to light, the developing process, wash and fixer bath are the final steps. The Wet Collodion Process is sensitive to UV light, blue colors will appear with more light and warm colors will appear darker. Faces of different skin color demonstrate the variation of tones and the sensitivity to light.
The conceptual serie of The Delicacy of a Culture has been produced with a 19th century alternative process. Which consist in transferring the emulsion of an original polaroid film image to an aluminum plate.
Couple years ago I left my homeland to pursue my studies in the fields of arts. The current social issues happening in our world has inspired me to focus my work in studying and portraying people who their being tells more than just a foreigner beauty. Gathering, interchanging thoughts, interviewing, observing, and listening to them for about two years has risen my understanding towards others belief different than the ones I’ve been raised in, this did not change my perspectives, but it rather made me respect their beliefs even more and mines as well. For the upcoming months I will be posting the photographs and thoughts of those whose ideologies; beliefs, beauty ideals, religions and politics principles differs from each other. I believe that in understanding and respecting others there is coexistence and hopefully things like this can lead to compassion and peace in the world we all (humans) live in.
If we only get to concentrate in what we think and our own way of doing things right, it become a mere act of selfishness. There is too many like us outside that has been raised under different beliefs, but just because is not “ours” is not necessarily wrong. Put yourself in the shoes of others before you judge them, not to become like them, but to understand why they are doing it. -Martha Diaz Adam
Lusine Aslanyan. Gyumri, Armenia.
"I am a Christian born and raised in a country that went through a genocide because of religion and is still facing attacks and losses of innocent lives again mainly because of religion. Do I have the right to be mad at the unfairness of the situation? I do. Do I have the right on hating every single creature who belongs to a different religion? I do not. Do I have the right to make a bad opinion about other religions and globalize it? I do not.
I may be considered crazy for thinking that my positive attitude towards the issue will change something in the world. I am probably too small against this destroying stream of hate that goes around the world spreading its wings everywhere. But what if I tell you I am not. What if I tell you that you should think the same way, and tell the person next to you as well, that we are all the same. Believe me, it’s simple as that. The fact that someone is Muslim or Christian, Democrat or Republican, Straight or Gay should not define who we are as an individual. We all have different beliefs but we need to share those beliefs, we need to cooperate around those beliefs, we should not fight over them. We should get rid of this burden separating us and unite all together around compromise and understanding, around solidarity and serenity. We should encourage love, we should encourage peace, we should not encourage hate, we should not encourage wars. And that’s when it will change, when we get rid of aversion and hatred, that’s when the world will become a better place.
I come in peace , do you? "
Samy Nashabe. Tripoli, Lebanon.
"I'm dreaming of living in a place where is no discrimination, no discrimination against any person because of that person's race, religion, gender or national origin. What is currently happening in the world from the war in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, to the violence rise in Mexico , the expansion of terrorist incidents, to the racism issue in the US, etc..It is estimated that at least 108 million people were killed in wars in the last century. Why do we have to live in a constant fear from next suicide attack? Who is funding these terrorist attacks? Whose job is it to protect and stand up against violence and terrorism? Why is it that we still see high-profile individuals who occupy elite positions in society promoting an impossible immigration policy? Why has human life has become so cheap? How do soldiers killing each other in a war solve the world"s problems? These are just few of a gazillions questions that are crossing my mind and can not seem to find the answer for..." -Samy Nashabe.
Race is just a social concept.
The Americas is the photographic series of a typology of faces from humans born and raised in the American Continent. It is believe that race is a biologically thing, but scientific research proved that it is a social concept rather than biologic. An specific Race is not seen in the DNA and physical traits are not the response of an specific race. Most human physical variation (85%) occurs between locals group while an smaller percentage (6%) variance occurs between population. It basically explains that there is only one race (human race) and we all come from the same origin and the differences in our physical traits are the result of environmental and inherited factors.