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Bryan Shih December 6, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.

Halfway House. Richmond, Virginia

Bryan Shih (b. 1969, USA) works on long-term, self-funded documentary portraiture projects. He switched from radio and print journalism (NPR, The Financial Times) to photography a few years ago under a Fulbright-sponsored project in Japan documenting a 14th generation sword maker, before returning to the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism to complete his masters, with a project on Prison Converts to Islam. Among several ongoing projects, he is currently working with a prominent veterans organization on a project slated for the 2012 San Francisco International Arts Festival.

About the Photograph:

“I took this portrait of Abdel Ameen at the industrial laundry where he worked in Richmond, Virginia. Abdel converted to Islam in prison and was a resident at Hijrah House, one of the only Islamic halfway houses in the United States. Transitioning out of prison back into society is difficult for anyone, but the scarcity of Islamic centered re-entry resources often adds to the obstacles confronting prison converts to Islam. I spent the week living with him and several other residents as part of my graduate thesis. A lot of the people I photograph are from groups and communities that are on the margins, and that does something to their psychology. It’s a challenge and an honor when I can get them to trust me and reveal something unexpected and real – at least for that instant when my shutter is open and the light is cooperating.”

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