Mar 13, 2010

Afghan, Phila. students in joint photo project

By Elisa Lala
Inquirer Staff Writer

Fatema Jafari, 15, of Afghanistan, had never walked around the streets of Philadelphia before this week, but she feels as though she has.

She has spent hours looking into the eyes of the street vendor selling hot dogs to passersby, stared mesmerized at the mirrorlike Comcast building overlooking the city skyline, and seen American families eating birthday cake, dancing in street parades, and riding bikes.

Jafari has experienced Philadelphia through photographs.

She is one of 10 Afghan high school students participating in an international photography project in collaboration with 11 students from Constitution High School in Center City.

When they started the project in July, none of the students had any formal training in photography. Some had never even held a camera, but all 21 wanted very much to share images of their lives with students from the other country.

The two groups have spent the last eight months capturing their respective cultures and sharing them on a blog.

Yesterday, they came together in a back room of the National Constitution Center. Acting as curators, they thumbed through more than 400 photos scattered on three tables. They selected a dozen or so to be displayed on the walls of the center in an exhibition to open May 14 titled "We the People: Afghanistan, America, and the Minority Imprint." Continue reading...