In Yo Face!

25 02 2009

I’ve been trying to kick up my portrait game, take it to the next level nah’mean.  Anyways, here are some portraits of people I’ve been collecting over the past few weeks.

P.S. Please pray for my camera.  I dropped it and it broke.  It is in need of repair, pray for its speedy recovery.  Thanks.

 

Late Christmas

Under the Lights

Sarwar stands on a sidewalk, waiting to cross the street in Fairfax Corner.

 

Fresh To Death

Fresh To Death

I got this shot of Wali while we were waiting with our Youth Group to leave from a standup comedy performance by Dean Obeidallah, at American University.

 

Rouge

Rouge

Chillin at Fairfax Corner, with some green tea.

 

Daddio Coolio

Daddio

At my uncle’s house.  My dad was sippin on some chai.

 

Elegeance

Elegance

It was extremely cold that night, and my mom was very layered.  Here she is, enjoying the comedy show at AU.

 

Study Buddy

Study Buddy

My brother was supposed to be studying.  I’m pretty positive he was really just using Facebook…or Wikipedia.

 

Warm Reflections

Warm Reflections

Sami was over at our house, getting pwnd in Madden.  I managed to get a picture of him while beating him simultaneously.  Skillz.

 

Cold sarWAR

Cold sarWAR

At Borders, chillin wit Zightai.

 

The Dean

The Dean

Standup comedian, Dean Obeidallah, visits AU in DC for a show, following a screening of a film about Muslims Standup Comics.  

 

Iris Divine

Iris Divine

Farhaad and I hit up a local metal concert, organized by Iris Divine.  Check out their music, it’s great stuff.

 

Test

Test

I was trying to demonstrate to Mufti how the aperture works on the camera.  Looks like it worked out aright.

 

Antipatico(cake)

Antipatico(cake)

A little girl refusing to play patty cake…unheard of.  Seeing is believing my friends.

 

Happy Bday Pops

Happy Bday Pops

We celebrated my dad’s birthday at home a few weeks ago.  That cake rocked.

 

Jughead

Jughead

Kani was trying to shield himself from having his picture taken.  This only made the shot more entertaining.  Nice try.

 

Ohhh, Dwight.

Ohhh, Dwight.

Best show ever.

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Wintery Retreat

19 01 2009

I spent the week after Christmas as a counselor at a MYNA retreat, on a campsite near Dallas, TX.  It was my first time in Texas, but not much really to report on how things are different.  It seemed just like any other midwest state.  The weather was pretty amazing though.  The first day we were there, it was like 80 degrees.  The entire week it stayed pretty warm.  

I had the opportunity to meet alot of really amazing people through the camp.  Of course, I had my camera along with me, so I put together some shots to share the experience.  Also, I just recently learned how to edit pictures, so I’ve been trying to touch up some of my shots to try and improve them.  I didn’t do it as much with these, but you’ll probably see it with even newer work.

 

Sparking A Movement

Sparking A Movement

Twice during the camp, we had bonfires.  It was alot of fun, everyone huddled around the fire and we sang songs and ate smores.  Nader was roasting some marshmallows early on in the bonfire in this pic.  Kudos to him for sitting so still so I could get this picture to come out right.

 

Canadian Moose

Canadian Moose

Yes.  The infamous Musa Syeed.  Musa was a counselor for the older group of campers.  Here, he’s with one of the campers from Canada.  And, of course, there’s the Germ-X…one of the staples of our week, lovely.

 

The Genius Gene

The Genius Gene

Zaki Barzinji, former president of MYNA, stands with his uncle, Musa, in the back of the room at one of the workshops during the retreat.  The program was focused around leadership building and training.  The workshops were a great way for the kids to learn useful ways to help them develop as leaders and community organizers.

 

Lighted

Lighted

Adam Soliman, current VP of MYNA, hangs out in the back of the classroom during workshops.  It looks like we caught him texting…I’m sure it’s official MYNA bidness.

 

The Real Cameraman

The Real Cameraman

Asif was definitely the real photographer this week.  I was just a baby amateur compared to him.  Here he is, showin off his skillz.

 

Drawing Inspiration

Drawing Inspiration

The one and only, Raef.  He joined the group halfway through the week and was kind enough to share his musical talents and to give some talks to the campers.  The back of the room is a popular place.

 

Star Studded Crowd

Star-Studded Crowd

Ok, the real star in this picture is actually Nouman Ali Khan, not the 11 yr. old child/soccer-prodigy wearing the Ronaldinho jersey.  Nouman came and blew the kids away with his knowledge and teaching style.  If anyone ever has an opportunity to hear him, you should take advantage of it 🙂

 

007...ish

007...ish

Riz!!  Riz was part of a small group that attended the camp from England.  The kids won a competition hosted by the Muslim Youth Helpline, and got the opportunity to come to this camp.  Also check out the link for Muslim Youth.net, they’re doing some pretty amazing things for youth development too.  Hopefully, this interaction with other groups increases our own scope.

So, I should explain the picture, too…There were different recreational activities at the camp.  This was from the BB gun range.  There was also archery, wall-climbing, boating, sports, hiking, and of course…napping.

 

Face of the Future

Face of the Future

This is Na’eel.  I like to consider myself Na’eel’s unofficial co-counselor.  Our groups shared the same cabin, and had some very memorable experiences.  Na’eel was amazing all though, all throughout the week.  Very inspirational and hecka cool.  I didn’t realize how G he was at first, but as the days went by, I’d learn more and more about the awesomeness of Na’eel 🙂

 

The Good Book

The Good Book

I actually did not realize, until I started writing this post, that Monem Salam was in On A Wing And A Prayer.  He visited the camp for a day to speak to the campers and teach them a little bit.  I wish more mention would have been made of some of the amazing figures in attendance.  We also had Zarqa Nawaz, I don’t have any pictures of her, the creator of the Canadian sitcom, Little Mosque on the Prairie.  She came for a few days and spoke at the end about her experiences.  

 

Lemme Learn Ya

Lemme Learn Ya

Na’eel explains something to one of his campers before the workshops start.  I have no clue what they were talking about, but it looks pretty heavy.

 

Music Making

Music Making

Raef was putting the finishing touches on a song he wrote with Na’eem Muhammad of Native Deen, who visited at the beginning of the camp.  The song, about Gaza,  was performed at the entertainment session at the end of the camp.

 

Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom

All throughout the Dining Hall, there were quotes posted, reinforcing concepts of living peacably with nature and the benefits of being connected to the great outdoors.  This was my personal favorite.





Fire It Up!

17 11 2008

After graduation came the season of BBQ’s…summer!  I got to attend so many BBQ’s over the summer, it was amazing.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from the festivities.

 

Eyein' Candy

Eyein' Candy

06/2008

Karim was scoping out the food while we waited for dinner at a graduation party.  

 

Hometown Heroes

Hometown Heroes

A group of us gathered and hung out at the WWII Memorial in DC.  We got a group shot with marsOne (bottom left) before she moved out to FL.  

 

Next Course

Next Course

Huma was in the middle of lunch at a grad BBQ and noticed a little boy already having dessert…jealoussss…

 

The Culprit

The Culprit

Saad was caught off-guard, I think he was smuggling some ice cream before having finished his lunch, tsk tsk.

 

Stay Hydrated

Stay Hydrated

Nabil enjoys a soda while we were at a grad BBQ, waiting for the host to finish roasting the meat for dinner.

 

Candid Camera

Candid Camera

Ayyaz was trying to record some memories during the grad BBQ.  This was the only time I saw him holding the camera, I guess we’ll just hafta rely on our actual memories.

 

Reunion

Reunion

Naveed, along with other VCU kids, got to hang out again at a grad BBQ with friends he hadn’t seen since school ended a month earlier.  I think it’s safe to say, we were all happy to be reunited.

This album just made me hungry, thinking of all those BBQ’s…





Sand City

30 10 2008

This turned into a surprise road trip.  We originally just intended to go hang out at Shazi’s crib in VA Beach, but I didn’t realize how far it was.  It was a nice, chill weekend.  It wasn’t quite beach weather, even though it was May.  All in all, it was a good trip.

 

 

Tribal

Tribal

May 2008

The drive was long, so I was just messing around with my camera in the front seat while Amer drove.  He had a little tribal mask hanging from his mirror and I angled the shot to line it up with his face.  Came out pretty interesting.

 

 

Lost in the Lights

Night Rider

While Amer was driving at night, I used some blur action to catch some lights streaking across.  I like how this effect turned out.

 

 

Under the Lights

Under the Lights

We made a midnight trip to the beach.  It was all nice and relaxing until it started raining.  The sand was fairly well-lit by the lights on top of the hotels that line the shore.

 

Tea Time

Tea Time

Sadiq and Shazi took a seat by the window in a coffeeshop we visited in downtown VA Beach.  

 

Preturbed

Marcus waited for the shower to free up in the morning while lounging around Shazi’s apartment in one of his robes.





Closing Time

29 10 2008

Towards the end of my final semester at VCU, I started to take more portraits of people.  I wanted to really try and capture people in a way that would help me accurately remember them for years afterwards.  I really feel like these pictures do just that for the people in them.

 

 

Adventureland

Adventureland

April 2008

Nelo and Mufti were being goofy under a street sign in Oregon Hill.  This was during a group adventure we took to the river and Belle’s Isle late one night.  We did some night-hiking, extreme climbing, abandoned building exploring, and we unsuccessfully tried to evade the police.  All in all, it was an awesome adventure.

 

 

BFF's

BFF's

marsOne and Sumayra, longtime friends, are reunited in Monroe Park on this incredible Spring day.  It’s true, after college you don’t get to see your friends as much, so it’s always great when you get to meet up again and catch up on old times.

 

 

Terminader

Terminader

Nadder gave us the eyebrow after we briefly crossed paths in the street on the way to campus.  

 

 

Pre-Game

Pre-Game

Monroe Park soccer star, Johnny, chills in the park with some friends before the 5pm daily showdown.  It’s recently developed into a local tradition to gather students to play pickup soccer in the park until sundown,  in afternoons when the weather is nice.  

 

 

Multi-tasker

Multi-tasker

The organizer behind the Monroe Park soccer showdown, Amer, is multi-tasking in the Student Commons.  Amer is usually always seen making the most of his time, a great quality.  Here, he’s listening to music, going to class, staying hydrated, organizing players for the soccer match, and looking out a window.  Magnanimous.  

 

 

Hologram

Hologram

Nelo is seen looking out to the city of Richmond through an observation deck atop City Hall.  If you look closely, you can catch a reflection of the photographer in the glass…

 

 

Che Like

Che Like

Such a gangsta hoodie.  Mufti was probably telling me not to take her picture as a group of us stood outside of Coliseum Deli on Broad St after the ritual Friday afternoon lunch.  You can smell the food from the restaurant from blocks away and it always draws a crowd.  I used to basically live at this place freshman year.

 

 

Posted Up

Posted Up

Kani is actually inside of Coliseum Deli.  One of their walls is made of brick and he was leaning against it as we waited for our food.  This was also on a Friday, during a ritual afternoon lunch.

 

 

Sunshine

Sunshine

Sumayra, often called Sunshine by beloved friends, relaxes in Monroe Park with marsOne.  

 

 

Party Like A Rock

Party Like A Rock

A group of us stand outside of 821 Cafe in Richmond while waiting for a table for lunch.  Mufti was sportin some rockstar shades and you can see the reflections of the rest of the group through the lenses.

 

No Pictures!

No Pictures

Sarwar didn’t want to have his picture taken during this meeting we had in finals.  I think his scruffy look just shows the dedication students have to focusing on studying…at the last minute.

 

The Seat

The Seat

My mother sits in the living room in her favorite chair while she does her daily reading, surrounded by flowers and other decorations.





Jamrock

29 10 2008

April 2008 was a very interesting and eventful month.  The VCU MSA Coffeehouse was obviously a big highlight, we had Tyson and DJ BLM visit from California to perform at the event.  123 was also the site of a crime scene earlier in the month, we had cops everywhere and everything, wiiild.  I’ll let the pictures tell the stories though…

 

 

Fista-cof-feehouse

Brother Ty

April 2008

The MSA gathered a crowd of over 200 to watch Muslims share their creative talents on stage for Coffeehouse 2008.  Tyson and DJ BLM, part of Remarkable Current in California, visited and delivered a unique performance for the audience.  Here, Tyson is pictured on stage during his set with his fist raised, with the VCU Coffeehouse tag on the screen in the background.

 

 

Golden Boy

Golden Boy

Local spoken word poet and social activist, Alex Cena, performs one of his poems on stage for the audience at the Coffeehouse.  The view is seen from behind the drums setup for other acts in the program.

 

 

Showtime

Showtime

Numerous audience members had video cameras setup in the back of the room to record the show.  This shot shows DJ BLM and Tyson being recorded during their performance set.

 

 

NasMUST

NasMUST!!

I’m really only posting this picture so I have an excuse to post a link to Nasreen’s blog.  She came to visit from DC and is seen here standing in front of the art exhibit at the Coffeehouse, which features art from Muslim students at VCU.  Check out her blog though, she’s in the Philippines right now on a Fulbright scholarship, doing research on Islamic financing in the region.  Very interesting 🙂

 

 

Bringin' It Home

Bringin' It Home

It always ends up back at 123.  Tyson and BLM were cool enough to hang out with us after the show and came over to 123 to chill with everybody.

 

 

Sweet Serenade

Sweet Serenade

April 2008

A group of us were sitting on the porch at 123 a week before Coffeehouse when this was taken.  Tayeeb was pretending to play this guitar.  

 

 

Before the Breakdown

Before the Breakdown

So, as you can see, we were just chillin.  Sittin on the porch, playing some music and kickin back.  It was around 1 AM on a Thursday night.  Around 10 minutes after this picture was taken, 3 guys walked up to our front step and posted up.  2 of them pulled out guns and loaded them, one of them actually raised his gun and pointed it at some of us.  

I was standing next to the front door when i initially heard a clanking sound like a gun being loaded.  I looked over to my left and saw one of the guys holding a pistol with his face covered, and then I looked over and saw another guy with his gun raised.  The third was just standing in between, staring at us.  I immediately turned around, opened the door, walked in, and then shut the front door.  Now, I admit, I did seriously contemplate locking the door, even though my friends were still outside, cuz the survivor instinct just kicked in, but luckily I didn’t.  I just walked to the back of the house to make sure the backdoor was locked and then pulled out my phone and dialed 911.  

All of this took place about 15 secs after the guys showed up and everyone else still hadn’t reacted until I again walked back towards the front door.  By that time, our guys finally ran into the house, nearly tripping over each other, and the 3 gunmen ran off.  Apparently, they were thrown off-guard by me walking inside and told everyone else not to go in…but of course they ran in anyways.  Thankfully, no one was hurt and the 3 ran away instead of taking shots.   

The rest of the night was full of police reports and stints of paranoia and anger.  The police had to document the entire occurrence as an attempted robbery, even though no one technically asked for anything.  We like to attribute that to the fact that we reacted before they could do as much.  We were, and still are, very thankful nothing happened.  It was reported that the same 3 guys robbed a group sitting on their porch a few blocks away from our house the same night.  There were also reports of 3 similar guys robbing and pistol whipping people in subsequent weeks.

This was especially freaky for us because a student was shot and killed after being robbed less than a mile away from us the night before by two teenage shooters.  Those guys were eventually arrested and they weren’t the same people, I don’t know if our assailants were ever caught.





Skippin’ Out

27 10 2008

A group of VCU hooligans headed up to Newark, NJ for the MSA National East Zone conference in April.  The road trip crew saw this as an opportunity to find cheap hotels, a stone’s throw away from the big apple.  So, we rode up to NYC on the Chinatown bus and did some essplorin.  

 

 

Can't Tell Me Nothin'

Train Game

 April 2008

Leaving Newark on a path train.  Sarwar had to put his hard look on, you can’t be all smiley and happy when you ride into NYC.  

 

 

Timeless

Timeless Reflection

Taking a break in Central Park.  Tayeeb and Sarwar look out across a pond in the northern end of the park towards a symmetrical reflection of the buildings along the edges

 

 

Peek A Boo

Peek A Boo

Sarwar was explaining the phrase, “Can’t See Me” to me by waving his hand in front of his face while we were waiting for our train.  

 

 

Bust It

Bust It

A crowd gathered around to watch a man in Times Sq who was making a sculpture of a customer’s head.  Sure beats a caricature.

 

 

Silhouette

Silhouette

Visiting the Ground Zero construction site.  Still a giant pit, but always a somber part of the city.

 

 

On the DL

Best Buds

The three of us were sitting at the edge of a pond in Central Park.  Can ya guess who’s who by lookin at the shoes?

 

 

The Glitter

The Glitter

My boys paused for a moment under some lights to take in all of the flash at Times Sq.

 

 

Fast Life

Fast Life

We chilled in Union Sq for a bit and did some people-watching.  It was nice to take a break from the high-speed pace of the city.

 

 

Must See

Must See

With Chicken Guy leftovers in hand, we headed back towards the subway to go to the hotel for the night.  We passed by 30 Rock, where NBC Studios is based.  Sadly, there were no celebrity sightings on this trip.  There were plenty of crazy people sightings…but no celebrities.