Reflections: How Mirrored Humanity Dissolves Fear and Changes Bias

“Suddenly, we find ourselves in the same room with each other and the walls are gone […] We have a chance, sometimes, to create a place of astonishing mutuality reminding each other how acceptable we are.” – Gregory Boyle

The women keep the cameras for the duration of the two-week workshop returning to their homes to fulfill photo assignments by capturing their environments, loved ones, and daily lives.

After the initial session, photos are reviewed in each gathering with a final compilation shared during the fourth class. The women diligently use the lens for the sheer pleasure of documenting their lives and what is close to their heart. That is an amazing opportunity to get insight into their worlds, their homes, their families. The photos that come out of their assignments are striking and often touchingly personal in their portrayal of loved ones in intimate settings. Through the sharing of personal images, what emerges more than anything else are the similarities in their shared humanity, in particular, the obvious love they all share for their kin.

This past summer I share this short tutorial with my group of women. In the slideshow, there is a beautiful photo taken last year by Naomi, an Israeli participant, of her husband and grandson during Havdalah. They stand facing one another, the grandson performs the ritual of lighting a candle and looking at the luminous flame in wonder while his grandfather blesses a glass of wine. The dimly-lit room with the candle as the only source of light, the composition, the colors are reminiscent of an old-masters painting.

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We Love Reading - Creating Brighter Lives for Syrian Refugee Children

I spent ten days documenting the NGO Taghyeer / We Love Reading initiative in Jordan. During my time on the ground, I met many hardworking and inspiring people from the We Love Reading community – from support staff and coordinators to women (and a few men) training to become reading ambassadors.

WLR ambassadors foster a love for reading in young children in indigenous communities and Syrian refugee camps across Jordan, with ambitions to spread across the Middle East and around the world.

Each and every one of my interactions was meaningful and poignant, a testimony to the great mission of We Love Reading.  Here, I chronicle my two days in the Azraq Camp.

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Using Photography to Bridge Barriers in the West Bank

I believe in the power of the visual.  In my work I seek opportunities and moments for connection that go beyond words and happen within a split second. I try to capture the realities I perceive with objectivity while maintaining the trust and dignity of those who come under my camera’s gaze. This is a surprisingly delicate balance. What I have experienced over and over is the achievement of a deep emotional connection and a sense of belonging, even though I am "an outsider." Some element of common humanity has allowed lasting bonds to develop every time.

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