Feature Photograph

A big smile on a Muslim girl

This weeks feature photograph was taken in the far south city of Pattani.  This photograph is significant in several ways which came together and helped place this same photograph in more than a few publications during the height of the Iraqi War.  At a time when the western press was villanizing Muslims and Islam in general about the only “images” we had of this group were scruffy looking bearded men in Muslim garb carrying AK47’s or RPG’s.  Muslim women were painted as oppressed, unhappy, and made to dress in a drab way.

In contrast stands this compelling image of a beautiful young Muslim girl modestly hiding her huge smile and glee at being photographed.  The bright colors of her garb almost hide her “accessories” which are a school ring and a Hello Kitty wrist watch.  Subsequent images showing entire families in colorful clothes, flowers, streamers, and even graduating classes composed entirely of females and receiving degrees stood in stark contrast to what we normally fed on the news.

Colorful clothed Muslims

Ironically only a couple of the publications pointed out the images were from another country, and those that did made mention of the Southern Insurgency and other problems in the south.

The feature image was captured with a Canon 1dsMarkII using a Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS lens (a photojournalist's main lens).  Using the full reach of the lens (200mm), and a F4 aperture, and by getting fairly close to the subject, I was able to throw the background out of focus into a pleasing bokeh.