Coffeehouse Reprise

16 05 2010

Coffeehouse is an annual performance event that the MSA at VCU organizes.  This year they had some great performances from pretty diverse genres.  Check out the links to the artists’ pages to hear some of their work.

Bo! Hi-Z Selectah!

Dj Hi-Z Supreme is shown here setting up for his performance alongside Sirraj L.K. at Coffeehouse.


My cousin holds it down on stage with a few pieces.  AYZ is also an art/film student at VCU, check out the (winning) music video his group submitted for the Coffeehouse Film Competition: Islam Forever.

Uyghur 'n Out

Arafat sang some nasheeds at Coffeehouse, with the help of a tabla player.  Here he is working the crowd.  Earlier in the day, he performed traditional Uyghur songs at the Intercultural Festival, representing his culture at a campus-wide event.

Iris Divine

Heavy Metal band Iris Divine was featured at Coffeehouse with a performance that surprised everyone.  I think this was the first Muslim event I’ve been to with a hardcore heavy metal band headlining, and people actually enjoyed it!  To their credit, they’re a great band, check out their music online: Iris Divine

Luse Kannons

Local Richmond hip-hop heavyweight, Sirraj L.K., made an appearance at Coffeehouse to share new material.  Check out his music online too: Sirraj L.K.

Future Creators

Sirraj L.K. featured some children from a local Islamic academy to play drums on stage during his performance.  Before the show, the kids were excited about being at the event and seemed to have a great time throughout the night.


Ausim shows off his cool shirt, featured in the video for Islam Forever.  LED lights moved up and down like an equalizer to all sound/music nearby.  Check out the video if you still haven’t seen it:  Islam Forever

Jam Session

These students waited for their chance to jam on stage and finally got a chance at the very end of the show.  Students did a great job of sharing their creative talents with the community.  It helped that the audience was very supportive and receptive to the diverse genres of performances that came across the stage that night.  Coffeehouse is a great event, with an inspirational legacy that’s always had a profound impact on me and many others in the community.  InshaAllah, it continues to inspire others 🙂


Sun is Shining, Weather is Sweet..

16 05 2010

I’m not particularly big on Bob Marley.  This did seem like a fitting title for a post about Spring though, so…props Mr. Marley.  These are pics from the past few months of Spring.  There was plenty of great action from weddings, festivals and general hooliganry.  Enjoy 🙂

What Comes Next

Mohsin is a childhood friend and old neighbor who recently got married in Dayton, OH.  My family roadtripped to the ceremony at this baller convention center.  It was pretty impressive, here’s a picture of Mohsin and his baby sister waiting to begin.


My dad was kickin back in the hotel room after being the first to get ready for the wedding.


Adil was apprehensive about me taking a picture of him draped in flowers for fear of it showing up on the internet.  You were right, sorry.  I just really like the picture!

Scarved For Life

At the Intercultural Festival (ICF) at VCU in Richmond, Zee is rockin one of these retro Palestinian-ish scarves.  I doubt purple represents the struggle, but…whatever.  That is a fresh beard lineup though, I must say.


Mohsin stands out with his traditional Punjabi turban at his ceremony.  Here, he’s surrounded by friends and family before the procession enters the main hall.

Saba So Bright

Inside the main hall, towards the end of the ceremony, friends from our table were comparing items from their gift boxes.  I guess Saba was happy about all the goodies 🙂

Smörgåsbord of Culture

ICF takes place annually in Monroe Park, on VCU’s main campus.  This year, they had performances all day on two separate stages.  There were also food vendors and display tables for cultures from all around the world.  Here, students dressed in some cultural garb enjoy a performance.  How many cultures can you spot?


This is Maaaaaaz!

Play On PD, Play On

Project Downtown (PD) is an initiative we started back when I was at VCU.  The basic concept was to make food to distribute to the needy on a weekly basis, whilst reaching out and connecting with people to build positive relationships.  Thankfully, we were able to brand it as something fresh, as you can see from the ridiculously dope gear Hemy is rockin here.  They still carry on the legacy today, which is amazing to see.  There’s alot of good in it, inshaAllah they’re able to keep it up 🙂

Winna Time: In

4 04 2010

This is part 2 of the Winter posts.  The first were pictures taken from events and trips during the cold season.  These are all pictures from the usual cozy chilling indoors.  We had plenty of opportunity to stay in this winter, after record-setting snowfalls for our region, something like 30 inches in 3 weeks?  It was ridiculous, but definitely memorable.

Midnight Sunset

My street, after the blizzard hit.  This was before we got the 28+ inches, there was a nice white blanket throughout the region regardless.  This was taken sometime around 2am.

All White Everything

My parents celebrated their 25th anniversary in January 🙂  We had some people over to help us enjoy the occasion.  As usual, the adults did their thing, the kids got together with my bro and got into some xbox, and Saad and I got to finally catch up like old times.  Saad chillin in my room here, while I show him how bright the flash on the camera can be.


I found this baby in my dining room during the anniversary dinner so I took her picture.  I think this was before we cut the cake, so she was watching someone wield a really big knife with epic concern.

Wild Winter

My neighbor’s house after one of the more mild snowstorms we had this winter. (Click image for large resolution)


It’s become normal practice for friends to gather in Amer’s basement and chill, play poker, and enjoy one another’s company.  During the blizzard, we gathered less frequently, but still came together when we could to get that fix.  Arsalan came home for the weekend from college and dropped by to spend some time.

A Boy and His Books

One of the defining elements of Amer’s basement is his wall of books.  His collection spans multiple, full-size bookshelves with hundreds of books.  He’s one of the few people I know who actually reads!  Like…for fun.  It’s kind of incredible.

Laughter Rx

Ali drops by occasionally and graces us with his presence.  He stays pretty busy with medical school in Richmond, but manages to squeeze in some good chuckle time with his peeps.


This is a shot from my 35mm SLR camera.  As you can see, there’s a huge difference in the quality and colors.  I havent edited the image at all, I like the feel of it as is.  Vintage Kamil, sporting his usual neutral glare.

Winna Time: Out

4 04 2010

I finally upgraded back to a DSLR.  The same one I had before in fact, Pentax K10D.  So far, so good 🙂  Picking the same camera back up had its advantages, I didn’t need much time to adjust to it, pretty much got right into it and started taking pics I was happy with.  So, after a few months of collecting shots, I think I have enough to put together a nice, meaty post.  My updates are becoming almost seasonal aren’t they? I split the Winter updates into 2 posts, check em out.

Turkish Delight

We took a road trip to NYC in January for a concert at the Apollo, organized by IMAN.  It was an amazing show!  We got to hang in Brooklyn with Bilal for a few days and he took us to this great Turkish restaurant around his way.  Dahman intently gettin into the meal in this pic…

Dr. J

Dr. Jackson and Dr. Fareed came to the ADAMS Center for the Winter ALIM program recently.  I was asked to do photography for the event, this is one of the shots of Dr. Jackson teaching about….something?  I forgot.  It was heavy though.

You can view the rest of the event pictures on my Flickr page.

BK Bilal

You know when you’re traveling and you meet someone you’re staying with after a long absence, and they stay up really late to let you in, and you’re all just vibing and catching up, and there’s that happy/tranquil/satisfied feeling you get  because you’ve reached your destination, met with your friends/family and can finally rest?  This was in the midst of that type of encounter, at Bilal’s place in Brooklyn, around 5am.


Amer, looking out for the train to Manhatten from Brooklyn.  Amer and I had a friendly photography competition, using pictures we both took during our NYC trip.  The theme was “Words” and we had a group of friends vote on the submissions.  Here’s my (winning) shot.  And Amer’s.  This is me rubbing in the fact that the vote was unanimous.

Dr. F

Dr. Muneer Fareed at the Winter ALIM event at ADAMS Center.  The ALIM summer intensive is an amazing program.  I had the privilege of attending 4 years ago and would highly recommend it to anyone that’s interested.  Dr. Jackson and Dr. Fareed are the core scholars for the program.  Here, Dr. Fareed is taking one of his usual pauses to let his gems marinate amongst the students.

Caught Red-Meated

The IMAN team hosted a lunch meeting with the volunteers from the IMAN DC initiative before the Apollo show at this nice restaurant in Harlem.  Amer’s sisters tagged along and sat in the corner…stuffing their faces.

I wasn’t able to take any pictures inside the Apollo of the event, but there were some real photographers doing their thing inside.  Here are some event pics from one of my favorite photographers:


Just Throwin Up

22 12 2009

No, not like vomit.  That’s gross.  I take a long time to get enough pictures I want to post these days.  Then, when I get enough pictures, I put off posting them on here because of how much I’d have to write about them and edit them and blah blah.  So, I’m just going to throw these pictures up, make a few comments, and be on my way, thank you.   They’re all unedited and from my 35mm SLR.

Sunshine Vibe

Tyson came to visit in July.  We rode down to Richmond and got some studio time in with Sirraj LK.  This is Tyson writing his verses (on his iPhone!).  Rappers are so tech-savvy, follow him on Twitter!

Ice Cream Float

Sometime towards the end of June we took a trip to Smith Mountain Lake.  The weather was great.  This was around sunset, right when we got there.  First time I’ve ever seen this though, an Ice Cream Boat, playing loud jingles and driving around on the lake.  What an awesome idea.

Rotund Laughter

My brother and his friend are college-shopping.  This was inside the famous Rotunda at UVA in Charlottesville, after the campus tour.  The boys were enjoying a good chuckle afterwards, probably at the expense of some vital, yet awkward, part of American history on display.

Beware of Tourists.

Sigh, Umair.  I don’t even know what to say.  This was also at Smith Mountain Lake.  I think he was upset about us not having started cooking for dinner yet.  Who really cares, this is just hilarious because of all the…foliage.

Huckleberry Finah

Hanif was fishing off the dock at Smith Mountain Lake, during sunset.

VA 2 Cali

Tyson shares what he’s written so far and Bukhari is seriously reconsidering his own verse.  Well…probably.  Follow him on Twitter too!

Feel the Love!

We had a great tri-family dinner at Food Corner to celebrate Father’s Day.  Afterwards, my cousin, who was about to leave home to start college at the end of summer, was getting lots of attention from the adults.  Oh, he loved it.


Who would’ve thought, walking through the streets of DC during the 4th of July weekend, you would run into Yusuf Islam and Hamza Yusuf, together!  This is why I keep a camera handy 🙂


After Father’s Day dinner, the fathers were surrounded by their wives and children in the parking lot.  There they stood, taking it all in, enjoying the time spent, reflecting on their blessings, and expressing their gratitudes.  Then again, this was like 6 months ago.  This could’ve just been where they were tired and ready to go home.  Hard to tell, really.  The former is a bit more poetic, I’ll stick with that.

From Boyz 2 Men

My dad tries to get the boys together for a group shot.  They grow ridiculously fast.  Just after this picture was taken, they each grew an additional 3 inches, and no longer fit in the frame.  This is the last known picture in which all shown individuals could actually fit into one shot.


My aunt and uncle.  So cute.  This was also on Father’s Day, though with this color scheme this would also be pretty perfect for Valentine’s Day.  I’ll tell them you said that.

Punjabi Corner

A few last jokes to wrap up the night.  A few more golden rays to wrap up the day.  A few last words to wrap up the post.  Thank you 🙂

Certified Wetards

21 06 2009

A few weeks ago, we took a road trip upto Jersey to compete in the Islamic Games.  Some genius thought it would be hilarious to name the team the VA Wetards.  Some other genius actually registered with that name, so we got stuck with it.  The entire time there, we regretted the decision and unofficially changed our name to just, “Virginia”.  Nice try.

We had an awesome time though, the tournament was pretty amazing, very well-planned and HUGE.  Lots of different sports.  Our soccer team got crushed, but on the upside, we had more time to visit NYC and Philly after being eliminated.  Alot of these pictures are from Bilal Mannan’s DSLR, which I was messing around with.  He’s got a Digital Rebel XT, pretty nice.  Made my shots come out much nicer than I expected.  I also threw in some film shots I took from that weekend.

Playa Stance

Victory Stance

Dahman and Bilal posing for the camera after we lost all of our games.  I took this laying down, hence the effect on the grass.  I think it looks pretty cool, that full-scale coverage.

Action Shot

Action Shot

We were trying to see if we could capture some action shots after the game.  I really like the way this one turned out, even though the focus is a little off.  This is def something I’d like to mess around with some more, we’ll see if I can improve this technique.

Notta Handme Down

Notta Handme Down

My bro was resting after the first game at Subway.  This lens was pretty crisp, feelin it.

Antie & Unkle

Antie & Unkle

This was actually from the Mother’s Day dinner at Food Corner, but I had the shot on another roll of film.  That’s one of the cool things about developing film, you see your pictures later and discover all the goodies that you forgot about.  I used to hate that, but now I really look forward to it.  It’s probably b/c I LOVE surprises 🙂

Bash In Defeat

Bash In Defeat

Bashar wasn’t taking the elimination from the tournament so well.  Actually, I don’t think he cared, we were all just really tired after playing.  On the upside, we had alot more time to act like tourists in NYC.  There’s always an upside.

Coach Boy

Coach Boy

Amer put together the whole trip and motivated the whole group to play in the tournament.  Big ups to him for putting in that effort.  This shot is part of a series of pre-game smiles and chuckles, while we were still suiting up.

No Shot

No Shot

Naushad, aka No Shot, was excited about the tournament.  This is in front of Mandarin in Springfield, where we met up before heading up to Jersey.  Great restaurant!  He really does have no shot though.  It’s quite sad.

Father n Son

Father n Son

Ok, so they’re not really father and son, but this pose makes me feel like they could be.



We had a great time meeting up with Bilal again.  Anytime we go up North, seems like we end up crossing paths.  Very awesome.  Thanks to him for letting me use his camera and for passing along the shots that came from it.

Coolture Shock

19 05 2009

I feel like I start every post with talking about how I’m back after so long.  Maybe we can just assume that I will only post periodically, so I won’t feel the need to start out posts so apologetically.  Truth is, until I can upgrade to another DSLR, I’m using a 35mm SLR again, so I won’t be putting out as many pictures.  It’s funny, when I use film, I barely take any pictures, I get really calculated and precise about which shots I choose to capture – completely opposite from when I’m digital.  It’s cool though, I like how it forces me to be more patient when I’m shooting to wait for the best shot, and not snap until I see something I really want to capture.

So, here are some pictures from some events and outings I’ve been keeping busy with over the past few months.  I re-visited VCU for their Coffeehouse and Year-End Picnic.  I also took a trip to Philly again for the EZ Conference.  More recently, I got a chance to hang out with some friends and family around the area, I’m putting up some of those shots too.  Enjoy 🙂   

Strawberry Sunshine

Strawberry Sunshine

Farhan was conquering his fear of being in a boat by jumping in every canoe he could when we visited Old Town Alexandria’s harbor.  I love the color of the sunset in this picture.  I’m pretty surprised it actually came out with my film camera, didn’t think film was tight like that.  Sure showed me.  

Green Giant

Green Giant

Dahman loves that kafiyeh.  This is from Saad’s in Philly.  



Huma was chillin on that cool red couch at TT Lounge in Richmond.  Who else loves bubble tea?


Bilal #1

Bilal #1

Bilal was visiting Philly for EZ and we met up.  He knew I was there b/c of a Twitter update, pretty coooool!  


Droppin Knowledge

Droppin Knowledge

M.O.T., during a recording session at Dahman’s makeshift studio in Richmond.  He’s 1/3 of Symmetry Of Sound, check em out on myspace!  I manage the group, so please bear with the shameless promotions.


Shawarma Monster

Shawarma Monster

He may not look it, but boy can Amer eat!  Then again, who can really resist all that awesome food from Saad’s in Philly?


VT In Full Effect

VT In Full Effect

Some of that new classic VT crew, chillin in Philly at EZ.  Good kids.  Thanks for posing.


A La Gigglioteca

A La Gigglioteca

I ripped the caption from my brother.  We visited Food Corner for Mother’s Day.  Shawn was having himself a nice, wholesome gigglefest while we all waited for food.


Giggle At Me!

Giggle At Me!

More of the gigglefest from Food Corner.  Ali was really lettin those small, controlled chuckles let fly all over the place.


Frogger At Sea

Frogger At Sea!

Farrukh whipped out his Canon Rebel XT for some photog action at Old Town Alexandria.  Is town spelled with an ‘e’ at the end in this case?  Old Towne Alexandria?  Maybe.  Faizan was there too.  With his Nikon D90.  I was using a 35mm, and Farhan…well, he opted for the camera phone.  Did him quite well actually.


VA Connect

VA Connect

VT kids rolled to VCU for the Coffeehouse.  The group brought some great spirit to the event.  They wanted to take this picture so we’d have something to remember them by.  Good call.


Yogurt Inspector

Yogurt Inspector

For those adventurous enough to try, you know how some of those yogurt drinks are really good, but others are really horrible?  I can never remember which brand is which, so I always hesitate before buying any at a restaurant.  Amer was facing a similar crisis I presume, at Saad’s in Philly.  By the way, the one he’s holding is the good kind (just look out for a bottle shaped the same way).


Good Ol Days

Good Ol Days

Farhan and I went to college together for a few years.  This reminds me of him back at VCU.  Apparently, it also reminds some people of the mass immigration of Europeans to America in the early 1900’s.  I can see that too.


Hey, Boy

Hey, Boy!

Amer was hanging out outside the Penn Museum after EZ, in Philly.  Those cherry blossoms made for such tempting picture opportunities.  


Let The Fun Begin

Let The Fun Begin

Saad just graduated from college.  Congrats!  Now, you get to join the real world.  Sorry, dude, un-congrats.  Him and his family also came out to Food Corner for some Mother’s Day/Gigglefest celebrations though.  Giggle on, m’brotha!


The Beast

The Beast(s)

Look at that camera!  Actually, you’d prolly have a better view if it wasn’t covered in that plastic bag Faizan used to protect it from the rain.  Meanwhile, Farhan was dominating his *free* scoop of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  It was free scoop day at Ben & Jerry’s, and we happened to be near one in Old Town(e) Alexandria, so we hopped into the line and grabbed us some.


S Effect in Effect

The S Effect in Effect

Sami a.k.a. The S Effect, was the official photographer for our trip to Philly for EZ.  We actually have the same camera (the one he’s holding).  Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and chill instead of trying to constantly take pictures.  Having that film camera forces me to be more picky with my shots, so I get to spend more time and energy straight chillin.