The interpretation of veils in my photography cannot be explained without referring to the city I grew up in; Aleppo.
Aleppo is characterized with its multi existing religions, such as Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism…etc. In addition to those religions, it has also different political views (which mostly remain unexpressed), cultures, and opposing ideas and perspectives. Being a photographer, I see that Aleppo is rich and colorful… But haven’t noticed that, until I took a set of photos and classified them under the title: “After the Veil Prevailed”
As I strolled the streets of Aleppo accompanied by a foreign friend, trying to make sense of my culture and thus to interpret him correctly, suddenly my life had a cinematic feel. Areas that I visited countless number of times while growing up were zooming in and out in front of my eyes, in a blurry haze that was finally drawn into clarity.
In a jeans and a strapless top, I stood next to a woman in a veil. A veil that she thought would reflect her modesty, privacy and morality. I tried to understand the meaning of such a piece of clothing that was and still an issue of prominent international debates. And One day I decided to wear it for the whole day…
Walking in a Muslim neighborhood, I succeeded to blend in. But my original identity was missing. When I walked in a Christian area, I was a misfit and felt all eyes were on me. I hadn’t changed. It was the veil that changed who I was.
I made few researches and learned that the veil was not referred only to Islam. It was mentioned both by Saint Paul in the New Testament and by ancient rabbis in Judaism as well. But Muslims decided to keep on wearing it till today in this contemporary world. Through time, such beliefs were slowly embodied in the society. But despite current oppositions, the veil still prevails. And we are totally convinced in our hearts that it makes all the difference. And … It SUDDENLY HIT ME,
Aren’t we all veiled? In the same way this piece of clothing is covering physical aspects of our body, we try to cover our aspects by using abstract veils to blend in. If we take those veils off, we become misfits… And so the Veil Prevails… Accepting this idea, what are we going to do AFTER THE VEIL PREVAILS?… This is a call of transparency for-
“ Beneath lies no smugness or complacence.
Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in fear, in aloneness.”
(Anonymous member of the Human Potential Movement)
I love photography because it taught me how to see…how to admire. It has profoundly changed my perspective to life in order to express my feelings and display humanity with its different cultures using my own lenses; my eyes.
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