Sulaimania, Iraqi Kurdistan. November, 2009. This is one of my favorite photos taken in the Middle East. I was on my way to one of Suli’s decent pizza joints with my good friend Nawzad after work one day when a gorgeous photo opportunity presented itself.
We had just passed the Kurdish bread stand and the truck overflowing with squash near the corner mosque when we came upon a few local elementary schools. The entrance to one of the schools has a beautiful mosaic of student-painted colorful portraits which I had long admired. I got my camera out, set the ISO and proper exposure when these three children extended their hands to ask for money for ice cream.
I gave them some money for snacks and they told me it was fine if I took their photo. I love how each of the girls has such a different expression on her face. The short cutie-pie on the right exudes a sense of care-free, giddy innocence, the middle girl seems a bit stand-offish and somewhat sceptical and the girl on the left is staring straight forward with deep conviction and strength. I wonder if these girls’ personalities match the expressions they gave for this photo. I’d like to think they do.