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SomaliLand, Utah

Thomas Szalay | Utah, United States

Mothers at work. A gathering to celebrate anther wedding was held outside some apartments. These two mothers were watching the children while a big pot of rice was being prepared on an outside stove. The boys just collapsed in their arms. Poplar Grove, a suburb of Salt Lake City, 2009

Somaliland, Utah

In 2007, young refugee students started to arrive in my classroom at West High School in Salt Lake City. They asked me to photography them and soon, requests to photograph family birthday parties and weddings. A long-term project began that introduced me these new residents who grew up in refugee camps half a world away.

These images capture their lives as they assimilate to our nation’s norms. Most live in apartments, where color fabrics covering the walls changed with the seasons. Thier tightknit communities bring a colorful  perspective about cultures in this conservative state. This selection of images has several themes, which could easily become a small book: Color, Reportage and Sudtio Portraits. 

I may have taught them photography and art in school. They taught me more about how beautiful diversity is.

In 2007, young refugee students started to arrive in my classroom at West High School in Salt Lake City. They asked me to photography them and soon, requests to photograph family birthday parties and weddings. Along-term project began that introduced me these new residents who grew up in refugee camps half a world away.

These images capture their lives as they assimilate to our nation’s norms. Most live in apartments, wherecolor fabrics covering the walls changed with the seasons. Thier tightknit communities bring a colorful perspective about cultures in this conservative state. This selection of images has several themes, which could easilybecome a small book:Color, Reportage and Sudtio Portraits.

I like to believe these images capture their lives where kids played and the color fabrics covering the walls changed with the seasons. I found good fortune in my two careers. Teaching photographyfor 22 years fulfilled a desire to expose youth to the narrative power of the still image. In the 1980s and 90's, I wasa newspaper photojournalist who concentrated on documentary projects and photo essays. There I learned how the camera can become a doorway into a story about a life, or a community. 

My style is straightforward. My photographs are honest images, capturing a chance moment in the dance of life, or revealing character in a portrait. It is my desire that these images might provoke joy, sympathy, and spiritual understanding about the human experience we all walk daily.

I may have taught them photography or art in school. They taught me the beauty of Diversity.

Thank you for your time.

Tom

links:

Even The Sparrow Has Found A Home.

book by Thomas B Szalay about his experience documenting the lives of Romanian Orphans from 1991-2016

Timeless:

Wings & Hoofs

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