Hey, my name is Hangamah, I'm 15 years old. Growing up with a unique name, I noticed that people occasionally mispronounced my name. I don't mind it as much as some might believe because I enjoy teaching others new things, especially if they are related to me and my culture. Being in this program, I wanted to accomplish sharing more about my culture with others and demonstrate that Afghanistan is more than just violence and war, and that we have more to teach about our people and self. Although I entered into my first session with very little to no knowledge about cameras and their workings, In the future I wish to take this opportunity to learn more about cameras and develop an interest in them while expressing myself.
I'm 16 years old, and my name is Hangamah. Being the oldest child from birth, I've always felt under pressure to excel and be a good role model for my younger siblings. I made my plans for what and who I wanted to be as soon as I started my freshman year of high school. I aimed to inspire others and lend a hand to those in need.I chose a career that will be most helpful because, coming from a suffering country, I wanted to help both my own and other countries that aren't doing well. In addition to wanting to help others, I also want to project a positive picture of myself because if I do, other people will have a positive opinion of both myself and my people (the Afghans). I try to step outside of my comfort zone as much as I can because I think that being strong and courageous will help me get through everything in life. I want you to have a positive impression of me and them when you look at my picture.
Photo Two: My dad, this is the person who I look at for inspiration and the person I want to impress with my achievements and my good work. Ever since I was a little kid we have been a duo and spending 16 years with him has influenced me to become a better person and be open minded about everything and everyone. My dad has taught me to focus on myself and what I want instead of worrying about the small things that don't matter. My dad has taught me to work hard for what I want and not expect everything to be handed to me.
Photos 3-5: A sign of modesty, wearing the hijab isn't just scarf you wear it's how you carry yourself as a person and it shows which group you represent, which in my case would be Islam. Throughout my teenage years my sense in fashion has changed and I found myself wanting to cover more rather then show more. I no longer seek validation from people who don't know me personally, and seek validation from myself and what I want.
Photo 6-14: a "princess", I wore two outfits I felt the most beautiful in and included stuffed animals that I found cute in the background to remember my youth and what I most valued as a kid then me now as a 16 year old girl, the crown and wand represent the power I seeked as a child and wanting to be in control of everything in my life. Looking at the meaning for the word princess, it's seen not as a compliment because the meaning is translated as high maintenance, spoiled, and precious which is not good traits but who said it's a bad trait, you can be a princess and not be a bad person.
Last Photo: Looking through my book I felt that I was showing a new side of myself as a photographer. On my last theme I focused a lot on my culture and where I came from but this time I wanted to show another side of me, who always wanted to be a model and inspire little Afghan girls that even though they are not white, and have blue eyes, and blonde hair they could still be seen as beautiful in a media with girls who don't look like them. During this project I wanted to show what I believe in and what I value in my life.
While preparing to take these pictures I thought about what background to use and how can I make it more creative. I decided to not only wear my cultural clothing but also choose these exact pillows to be behind me because these pillows are culturally often used in many Afghan homes. These pillow are more often seen out on display for guest only when we have family friends coming over. And while picking out my dress I picked a dress that was culturally worn a lot during important events like weddings or special parties.
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