By Manasi Nene
Thana Faroq, the mind and the eye behind Everyday Yemen, doesn’t look at her photography as activism. She shies away from any kind of glamour, and gives us a look at the dirty, the everyday – from simple street portraits in Everyday Yemen, to harrowing stories and haunted eyes in her Women Like Us series.
Recently, Faroq has come out with another photobook, In Memory of Shattered Windows, which juxtaposes lines from the diary she maintained growing up in Yemen, with images from her apartment in London. Having moved to Canada at 17, she isn’t blind to other cultures at all — but throughout her photography, it’s evident that she still has a deep love for her homeland.
In an interview with Guernica, Faroq talks about using her camera to document happiness and simplicity as the most worthy kind of opposition to war and poverty. Here, she says she documents ordinary people — “not to try and show that they were not affected by the war. Not to say that everything was fine. But because, at the end of the day, these photos show that we will carry on because we need to carry on”.
Gender is always on her mind, too. As a woman, she knows other women would be more comfortable opening up to her. She brings out a softer side of the hardened subjects of her pictures. The women she photographs might not always be in the happiest situations, but she says they still want to look their best. Looking good for the camera is one thing, but Faroq tries to photograph them with dignity – simply because she feels they deserve it.