"PEACE IN THE SHADOWS" is a photodocumentation of contradiction.
This project is a visual attempt at illuminating, reconciling, or, at the very least, reducing the conflicts that perpetually reside within me & the world we collectively inhabit.
In early 2020, I spent 3 weeks documenting the Selam Center. Selam is Arabic for "peace." Founded 7 years ago, the center exists as one of the single largest Syrian orphanages in Turkey, as a critical refuge for peace in a region plagued by conflict for the most poignant victims of the near decade-long war in Syria. Currently housing over 200 orphans & 50 widows, this community was created & continues to be run as a family by a family of Syrian refugees. This project is not a literal photojournalistic documentation of an unfamiliar & tragic story occurring in some foreign far-away land to others however.
It is equally a story of me.
My personality tends to be one of extremes. This inclination invites & fuels my fascination with contradiction. This propensity simultaneously motivates my desire to ameliorate the conflict inherent within. I feel these dualities within me & see them everywhere I look. They haunt me. As a documentary photographer, I am drawn to work produced by conflict, work that creates these internal tensions, & that which helps to assuage them. These contradictions are a source of coexisting inspiration & depletion. The high contrast black & white in which I work is both informed by & assists in conveying these conflicts.
The Selam Center is immersed in contradictions that are both enduring & universal. Consequently, "Peace in the Shadows" is also a story of us. The photos comprising this project illustrate these tensions, the dualistic realities in which humans exist that are often of our own creation & whose harmful extremes are often unnecessary...
Light/darkness, community/isolation, home/foreign, awareness/ignorance, peace/turmoil, freedom/confinement, creation/destruction, they/us, seen/invisible, family/stranger, love/hate
My hope for the viewers is that they might seem themselves in these photos. I hope for some elevated sense of awareness of their own contradictions, their role in creating & perpetuating them, & that in working to resolve them so that some peace may emerge from their own shadows.