this is what you get when an utterly non-car person takes pictures at a car show… the only thing i could really get out of it was the smile on my son’s face, which of course made every minute worth it! anyway, this was, obviously, just a personal visit with my family, during the last hour of the last day of the washington, d.c. annual auto show… musa couldn’t get enough of getting into every car he could. i figured taking my camera was the best way for me to spend my time there… :)
i had the opportunity to participate this past weekend in a fantastic performance that is gaining recognition around the country, both in and outside of the muslim community, the hijabi monologues. if you’ve heard of eve ensler, you can kind of guess that this show presents something that is a sort of inverse of the vagina monologues – not related or responding to it, but, as co-founder sahar ullah describes it, taking something public like the islamic headscarf (hijab) and pushing it OUT of viewers’ faces, by making them see the individual wearing it, rather than personifying something intensely private. the hijabi monologues is not actually about the headscarf at all (which i was ecstatic about, because i don’t think there exists another piece of cloth in the world that’s been overanalyzed more), but it presents the stories of various women who just happen to wear hijab. let me be a little more grandiose about it: it helps give voice to a group of women who have, for entirely too long, been spoken for by others who have no idea.
i had been wanting to see it for a while, being a longtime american hijabi myself, but also found out that one of my friends would be performing in the DC show, held at the kennedy center on sunday, nov. 22. so i was thrilled to find out only a few days in advance that the show was looking for photographers!
for the camera geeks out there: the kennedy center does not allow flash in or around shows, so this was a bit of a challenge; i had my tamron 28-75 2.8, but i really wanted close-ups of the spotlit performers on stage; for this i had to use my sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6. in the end it was only my 5D’s amazing high ISO performance and a steady hand (and the fact that i wasn’t the only photographer there) that saved me.
without further ado…
for a baby whose existence i only discovered at minus three months (thanks sara!!!), maryam’s appearance into the world sure made me happy! her mom is a good friend of mine from the college park days, and i was so honored and excited to be asked to take pictures of maryam when she was only six days old, the day her family conducted the traditional head-shaving ceremony and held her aqeeqa celebration. (the shaved hair is weighed and its weight in silver is donated to charity… i think!). anyway! so after we shared labor stories – amazing how i never get tired of hearing them and reflecting on my own! – we took some portraits of baby cutie-pie maryam with her hair still on, including some in an outfit her grandmother sewed for her that very morning, and the rest of the images show the actual head-shaving itself. i’ll include a few explanations with some of the images below… sara, thanks so much for the honor and i can’t wait to take more of maryam’s pictures in the coming months! btw, i didn’t get a chance to hold her at all last time – i expect some cuddle time in the future! :)
so, maryam and modassir are family friends; modassir was slugging relentlessly through law school and working full-time while my brother and i were gallivanting undergraduates, all together at UNC Chapel Hill in the early 90s, and maryam joined our north carolina community from far, cold michigan about 10 years ago (i hope that’s right maryam!). anyway! at long last, this couple – always a beautiful example to those around them of a loving, happy marriage – is expecting a midsummer addition to their family, and their generous circle of friends threw one GLAM baby shower on june 6th. maryam herself is known for organizing fantastic parties, and so her friends decided to give back to her in similar fashion: the result was a red-carpet extravaganza with the close-knit feel of a “chill” evening at a friend’s house. the organizers and guests poured their hearts into making it an amazing night, and when i was asked to take the pictures, i wanted to capture not only the emotion of the evening, but all the details of the labor of love – pun intended! – maryam and modassir’s friends put forth.
if i’m on your facebook, you’ve probably already seen all of these images, but i chose a few of my favorites to share here in larger format!