I’ve spent a lot of time this past year learning to take compelling photos. Headshots are my favorite, because I think who a woman (or man) is shows in his face in a good picture.
When I returned from Qatar, I was immediately upset by the strangeness of the images I found describing the Middle East. I saw TV shows with terrorist line-ups featuring men in thobes, as if the head-dress itself was a sign of Islamic Extremism. The only male head covering that I think is always a sign of extremism is a Raiders cap.
In returning to the US I had trouble finding any images of the Middle East that described my experience there. This week, being done with school and having some free time, I searched around flickr and found these 3 photos which I think are good representations of the culture (Arab, Muslim, Gulf, Middle Eastern) that I saw in Qatar.
Here is the only photo I can post here, because the photographer has kindly placed it under a Creative Commons License.
The other two photos are quite lovely, just unpostable. The first is of two little girls, one wearing a Hello Kitty shirt which matches her hijab headscarf. The other is of a little boy wearing a thobe.
I think these photos let even people unfamiliar with Middle Easter dress see how normal and natural it is in context. A nikab may look extreme, but mini-skirts look extreme as well. It’s just a matter of context and comfort.
(Speaking of extreme…Justice Breyer on the propriety of a principal ordering a 13 year old girl trip-searched because she was accused of carrying aspirin by a classmate who was caught with aspirin. From the oral arguments of Safford v Redding)
JUSTICE BREYER: […] In my experience when I was 8 or 10 or 12 years old, you know, we did take our clothes off once a day, we changed for gym, okay? And in my experience, too, people did sometimes stick things in my underwear —
JUSTICE BREYER: Or not my underwear. Whatever. Whatever. I was the one who did it? I don’t know. I mean, I don’t think it’s beyond human experience, not beyond human experience.