One of my goals when I started sharing my photography online was to not try to put it in any sort of context. But to have the world speak for itself. That’s why my blog is very scattered with photos that don’t really follow the timeline of my life. There are photos from 5 years ago, when I first began to gravitate towards photography, that I still have not shared but hopefully will one day. I just wanted to portray my travels in a way that was very third person. As a visitor observing a life that will continue with or without me. Undisturbed by my presence in that moment.
It’s strange. In a lot of ways my photography stands apart from my reality. These photos are more so an observation of the reality of others that I’ve been blessed to be around at particular moment in my life. I enjoy mixing and matching photos from different cultures and places, because I’d much rather blend humanity together than differentiate between us. I enjoy jumping back five years to share a photograph because it reminds me that life has pushed forward since that time. I’d much rather invoke an emotion from the viewer of the photo than classify and organize the photos to the viewer. What I take out of a photo I post is probably much different than what some of you might feel upon seeing it. I think that’s a powerful testament into how vast and beautiful this world is. But more importantly, this world is mysterious. And the more I have been blessed to see of it, the more curious I am to see what it has to teach me.
A lot of times I feel so humbled looking back at my photos. They remain timeless even though I’ve changed so much since taking them. My photography is a reminder to me of how in the macro scheme of things, life is constant, despite how turbulent my personal existence is to me.
So to conclude this ramble, I hope you all have felt something from the photos I’ve posted whether on here or Instagram and I thank you for your intrigue and kind messages. Salam.
Night has become a time of restlessness for me lately. Thoughts begin to flood my mind as soon as my head hits the pillow. When everything is turned off, all that accompanies me are my thoughts. And I think a lot. Thoughts lead me to many places. Sometimes they lead me to excitement and happiness. Other times they lead me more so into anxiousness. Either way, I find myself traveling to and from, revisiting my past, brainstorming the future as I look up at my ceiling. Something about the darkness above me inspires me to fill it with my own images, my own thoughts. And rather than the night being a spread of shade to rest under, it has become a canvas for me to paint on.
I’ve realized that there’s a lot I’m looking forward to in life. This is a great hope to have. But I also wish I could appreciate the present a little more. Or just enough to sleep contently at night. It’s strange. It’s almost as if I spend my days sleepwalking from activity to activity and my nights daydreaming from thought to thought.
The first red flag was when people stopped calling them songs and started calling them tracks. It’s almost like they’re not even songs anymore, but numbers first. Our generation doesn’t really relate songs in a connective way like our parents did when their favorite albums came out. A song used to be interpreted as part of an ongoing storyline or message within an album. Today, each song stands alone and is judged on its own, with no real attention given to its placement as a piece of an album. And if we’re not feeling it, we just toss the “track” out and continue onto the next “track” seeking instant gratification or an immediate conclusion we can derive from the song. So I think a lot of times when some people ask why is music so shallow and formulaic these days (which I don’t believe), we should look in the mirror. Music is more transient these days because we as people are less patient. Artists saturate us with new “tracks” and new “singles” or albums filled with singles, because that’s really all we are searching for these days.
How do we, in the Middle East, expect the rest of the world to feel an obligation to help our countries when we can’t even find it within ourselves to help one another? When a Sunni MUSLIM and a Shiite MUSLIM cannot even pray together let alone talk to one another? When we isolate Christian Arabs, as a whole other separate category of Arabs, and don’t really talk about their existence? We have our own mirrors to look into for change.
The most underrated and under appreciated commodity today is privacy. Technology in 2013 makes it harder for us to value because we are constantly updated. A lot of times it feels like if were not sharing or documenting what we’re doing, it’s almost as if we did not experience it in the first place.
Of course we all have something to share. Obviously I have a blog. Haha. I like to share bits and pieces of my life, but I am not down to update every detail of my existence. Nor am I here to write a biography and connect the dots. I think there’s something to be said about a person’s mystique and mystery. It makes us all as individuals much more interesting because it leaves room for imagination and intrigue. It’s nice to wonder sometimes rather than to know. I would much rather have interactions/life be organic than formulated.
The actual experience itself is not the draw but rather the documentation of it is. The response to it is. And I think it really waters down life to live that way. Whether it’s a sporting event, a concert, or even something as simple as lunch with a friend, it’s as if we have to stop the moment, step outside of it, and take a picture of it to share with everyone who is not there with us, rather than just enjoy and acknowledge the natural emotions that stem during that instant.
And it’s a shame. Because rather than cultivate a memory through the vibe and feel, we want to take a snapshot of it. A snapshot that will be three weeks, 3 months, a year old, etc. And soon its buried in our newsfeed/dashboard/timeline and is forgotten. It’s a firework world these days because we will put so much energy into shining bright for one loud instant rather than sitting under the sun, embracing it, and enjoying it.
I wish we would all just practice what we believe in rather than try and convince people of what we believe or that we believe. There’s no need to impose your beliefs on anyone if you truly do live it. Insecurity and faith should not mix. Faith should combat insecurity. One who has faith in what they believe in, whether it be Islam, Christianity, Atheism, Judaism, etc., shouldn’t have to proactively prove they are living correctly or winning a debate. Just live. We are a reflection of what we practice just through our existence and our reality. And if our existence is one based on good intentions, it will attract the curiosity and intrigue of our peers through their own willingness.
To you be your way, and to me be mine.
Take care of five matters before another five replace them:
Your youth before your old age,
Your health before your sickness,
Your wealth before your poverty,
Your free-time before your preoccupation,
And your life before your death.
- Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
Patience is our biggest friend. We cannot control what’s to come, but only what’s here. One of my personal favorite messages about this proverb is that it highlights the need to nourish and embrace the good while it’s still before us and to utilize these blessings to our benefit. To be thankful in the moment so regret doesn’t replace that thankfulness in the future. Because we can all easily sleepwalk through life only to realize that it’s passed us by.
…long ago that holding a grudge was a lot more difficult and tiresome than forgiving someone. Why hold on to something from the past and allow it to shape how you feel in the present, when you can just let go of it and look towards the future with a lesson learned and a free spirit?
…were the best time for a childhood.
Perfect balance of the outdoors and technology. We would play basketball all day and nintendo at night. No internet. You could mess with rock and hip-hop. They would show actual cartoons on TV not these white suburban sitcoms. You had to fuck with real ass encyclopedias. Remember those? I used to love encyclopedias so much.
2012 was the year I traveled.
I was on the verge of graduating college and I had saved up my money for this exact purpose: to go and see things before responsibility would settle in.
It’s a very beautiful world. I got to visit places that some people dream of and others that very few even think of. I’m very thankful for all I experienced and everyone I met and broke bread with along the way.
For me, home was a bit of a mystery in 2012. A house and a home are not necessarily a hand in hand thing. My house here in Los Angeles is just that…a house. The people who made it a home are thousands of miles away. Their pictures remain hung up throughout the halls but their spirits have long left. And that’s something I’ve struggled to adapt to over the years. I went out into the world to observe other people’s homes. Some gaudy and some humble. But one thing that remained constant, the happiest homes were built on the foundation of family. And I missed mine terribly in 2012 and know just how important they are now.
I think in 2013 I’ll begin to lay the groundwork for my future family here in LA inshAllah. No more traveling. Haha.
A montage of my time in Morocco.
…how in high school and early college, we push so hard to expand our social circles. Only to strip it all apart and realize that all we need to depend on are our families, our principles, and a key few companions who have helped us mature into this realization.
As I’ve grown older, the world around me has grown larger.
That elementary school became middle school became high school became university became job pool.
That back seat, where I sat as my Mom drove around, has been replaced with seats at airports and on trains.
Those 10 kids I used to stop time with on the weekends are now the many I see in passing on weekdays.
That after school walk back home is now freeway traffic.
That block I’d play on growing up, where I couldn’t wander out of my mother’s vision, is now where ever I feel like. And no one’s watching me anymore.
A lot has changed.
So I’m thankful for those special instances where things have remained constant and familiar. And I’m humbled by the world that spins around me. Because whether I stumble through it or stand firm and let it all come to me, it will continue spinning.
…is a very under-appreciated commodity in the world today.
Whether it’s in the lifestyles we live or in the character of the people we encounter, we often times overlook it’s value and undermine it’s beauty.
A simple man is not a simpleton. A simple thinker is not a dumb one but a genuine one. Often times, when I speak to someone who is coming from a simple perspective I gain more from that conversation than those with a sharpened seasoned tongue. There’s a clarity to their mind, a clear perspective of right and wrong. There’s no reasoning that blurs those two concepts, because their hearts are simple and thus pure and strong. And when they speak, they speak from that pure hearts. They have no doubt in their convictions. They say what they mean and mean what they said.
Simplicity is an infinite treasure. It gives us everything we need; replacing our longing for that which we don’t have.