religion

Slideshows With Meaning

“Face to Face” portraits by Alison Wright, who works for the for the National Geographic, shows people from around their world in their traditional clothing, usually with solemn faces and eyes that look through the screen directly to you.

These photos document the beauty in the different cultures around the world, showing you through dress or caption a small piece of the world outside of the United States. The pictures are simple, but gorgeous with sharp focus and bright eye catching colors.

I find it inspiring that she was able to truthfully document different individuals in such a distinct pattern that it makes them look similar. The traditional clothes are beautiful and in some of those captured they seem proud to be photographed in such a way.

So, do you think these photos show the beauty of being different? Or do these photos show that through our differences we are similar?

“Greatest Photos from the American West” groups photos by a variety of photographers for the National Geographic and other news sources to combine notable images from the American West in order to show a glimpse into the varying lives of America’s homeland.

These photos document everything from the rolling prairie grasses sprawling across open fields, to good ole cowboys lounging in a lonesome dim-lit bar, to Native Americans perched on top of horses surrounded by teepees and buckskin dresses. They show the diversity in just a single region of the United States. Each of these photos have an earthy feel to them, with nature being either lurking in the background or being the prominent feature, which is what many Americans (myself included) think of when they think of the West.

I think these photos are inspiring because they show that you don’t have to look for diversity in small dark corners of the world, it’s everywhere.

Also, (since I am the daughter of an environmental scientist) I have a small fascination with the simplistic beauty of nature. These photos are shot without the effects of exposure lighting, mostly outdoors, with colors given to us by the Earth.

“Windows of the Soul” pictures by Alexandra Avakian depicts Muslims in various shoots that she took over a period of twenty years. The photos show Muslims, throughout different parts of the world (including the United States) in an array of situations.

One shows women in strict Hijab with facial masks taking a break from shopping. The photo is so striking to see women so concealed, but the situation is common, many women go shopping everyday. Another shows a group of children playing and laughing, faces stretched in full giggles, with nothing out of the ordinary but simple head coverings. Others, depict fearful situations, a protestor jumping to escape high rising flames, snipers who had been attacking the photographers hotel for several days surrendering to military police.

These photos show that despite the unfortunately common terrorist portrayal of Muslims, they’re just like the rest of us. I think the most striking photo to me was the image of a woman covered from head to toe pushing a lawnmower in front of her home. It’s so ordinary and basic that it’s pretty.

I also think the photos could inspire some of those with prejudice to briefly put aside their ideals to see that they aren’t the bad guys, it’s just unfortunate that every religion has a few violent nut jobs who claim their criminal intentions have God at its base. 

What I Want to Convey and Why it Matters to Me

With over seven billion people in the world today, it’s hard to imagine ever feeling alone or out of place. With so many people and just as many unique personalities, it’s hard to imagine being able to get by without ever meeting someone who doesn’t share the same viewpoints, skin color, or abilities as your own.

Yet for some reason, some try to seclude themselves to people just like them. Some people go their entire lives without seeing and understanding cultures different from their own. Without stopping to get to know the guy who lives right down the street who walks a little different and talks kind of funny, who’s just odd enough that not many approach him. Some people never get the nerve to strike up a friendly conversation with the old lady who rides the bus with them everyday who seems nice enough, but she doesn’t say the same prayers they do.

As easy as it is to forget sometimes, diversity is everywhere if you know where to look. Diversity isn’t just black and white. It has variety and depth, ranging from skin color, to body modifications, to religion, to handicaps, to nationality.

And diversity is a good thing.

How boring would it be to have a conversation with someone who looked just like you? Who thought just like you, who watched the same television shows you do, ate the same food, shopped at the same stores, had the same beliefs, the same sports interests? Would you ever have a reason for passion of any kind if you never met anyone different from you?

I’ve been lucky enough to encounter many diverse people. My military upbringing forced me into new situations almost everyday, where I had to meet new people, move to new places, try new foods and learn new concepts. It was scary, definitely. But it started a passion to know more. I wanted to understand and learn about all the things and people that were different from me and what I had been taught growing up. Some things and traditions have been easier to understand than others, but they’ve all been worth knowing.

That’s why I’ve created this blog. (Not just because I have to have a blog for my class, haha) I choose this theme because I want to know more about the diversity around me. When you look around Auburn, Alabama, it’s easy for your eyes to glaze over and start believing everyone is just the same in this town.

But I know there are thousands of unique perceptions waiting to be seen here and I know there are people like me who want to learn more about things they don’t quite yet understand.

So here’s to first blog posts, may this be a set up for good quotations, the continuation of (hopefully) acceptable grammar and the start of a new look into diversity.