A Girl Breaking Norms
Can you name a successful Muslim photographer? What about a successful Muslim, female photographer? There may be a large amount of women in the industry, but in New York City, there are not a lot of Muslim Women achieving this victory, especially hijabis. You can call me crazy, but my dream is to break the so called "norm" and be among the Top 10 Best Photographers in the World. Currently, I consider myself an amateur photographer with only three years under my belt, but with different learning experiences and dedicated practice, I will make this dream a reality.
In addition, I want to inspire girls to follow their passions and prove to the world as a Muslim woman who is hijabi, that we can achieve anything that we can set our minds to. The typical fields for Muslim women are the medical, law engineering and education fields. These are important and inspiring roles t fill. However, when it comes to the creative world, the numbers are lessened. Many believe that these artistic jobs are good for "passions," but not for a living. As a result, Muslim women are not supported financially when beginning to pursue these roles - making it very difficult to get their names out there.
My photographic journey began when my older sister who is also hijabi, decided she wanted to work in fashion. Her goal was to show that being hijabi doesn't mean you cannot have a sense of style or not feel about good about yourself. So, every day she would dress up in different looks and I would capture her confidence through photos. That was my first step.
Once I went to college, I met different types of people who became my friends, and I began to photograph them. People were amazed by my work and encouraged me to go full force with this passion. That is how I built my own confidence and began booking larger projects, like weddings. These first-times were nerve racking, but the results made it well worth it.
Although it can be a struggle to book an event, especially with all the competition in New York, I will never give up no matter how hard it gets. Each day I attempt to network with more people and creatives and break out of my comfort zone. I am determined to learn, strengthen my skills, and work on more collaborations. Working events that may not pay well still opens up opportunities to connect with others that will help me achieve this goal.
Most importantly, I will never change my identity which I proudly represent. But, I hope one day I will attract a lot of clients and show to the world that a Muslim Hijabi woman can achieve her dreams and nothing can stop her.
Written by Sarah Younus
Sarah, Muslim woman in her twenties, aspires to be a writer and photographer. She graduated from Kingsborough Community College with a Liberal Arts Associates Degree. Founder and photographer at Captured Photography, launched in 2013. Sarah photographs street style, events such as weddings, parties and red carpets.