The series began in the summer of 2010 during a time of serious transition in my life. I had decided to leave Washington for Paris to pursue a Masters in Photography. The year prior, I spent the summer in Israel and Palestine, teaching photography to children in a refugee camp and traveling all around the holy land meeting with various Israeli and Palestinian organizations. I left my young career in the arts to further my education in photography because I felt restless in my identity as a Palestinian-American. I thought that experiencing Paris on my own and being out of my comfort zone would help me uncover who I was.
I spent the few weeks leading up to my move with my father in Morocco, where he has lived and worked for more than twenty years. It was the first time in my adult life that I had an opportunity to discuss all things big and small with my father, including my parent’s decision to move our family from the Arab world to Geneva and ultimately to the United States, where I have lived most of my life. Although my own experiences with moving have not been out of pain or hardship, I cannot but help be reminded that for my parents and grandparents, often it was.
Distance creates space for reflection, and over the years, the underlying significance of the technique I used for these photographs has revealed a deeper meaning than the one I initially experienced. The multiple exposures were created with my digital SLR camera with no post-production, the intention being to maintain as true a memory as possible, outside of the obvious effects created by the multiple exposures.
The moving landscapes represent the dynamic changes that have been occurring on the ground in the Middle East for decades and that will continue to occur. This idea of longing for home—even if you’ve never lived there—or the longing to maintain a connection to a place that I may never experience in the way that my family did, is something I contemplate often. In my photographs, I remember that this feeling is experienced collectively across the Arab world. A photograph can capture a place you once knew, and that may not exist in the future.
In the fall of 2013, I had the opportunity to continue this series in Turkey, where part of my ancestry originated. In this, I am reminded once again of the transient and malleable meaning of home. I hope to go back to Israel and Palestine in the future and photograph this very real, ever-changing landscape.