Samar Hawa spent a decade as an investment banker in her home city of Beirut. She worked with private equity funds and other high value investment vehicles.
But a year ago she quit all that, “to develop my right-brain capabilities.” Now she is exploring her creative side, including whether photojournalism and documentary photography can be a part of her life.
“I heard of Foundry from a friend whose friend had attended,” she said. At first she was reluctant, as she thought the focus was on conflict photography. But she did block out the July time on her calendar. Then she spoke with Nadim Bou Habib, a fellow Beirut resident and Foundry graduate, who assured her it was much broader than that. On that assurance, she signed up.
At Foundry, she began working with her instructors, James Whitlow Delano and Paula Bronstein, to winnow down her subject to homeless people living in the Old City of Sarajevo. She soon forged a bond with them and began to get access from them. Even with a language barrier, they were able to show her their lives and problems.
One supportive element for them is a charity kitchen operating in the Old City. I was able to accompany Samar early one morning as she photographed the kitchen staff preparing for the first meal of the day. Here are a few images of Samar hard at work!
It was clear Samar was working hard accurately to capture the action in the kitchen. And she had learned her lesson on connecting with her subjects – to the point where one kitchen member could not let her go un-hugged!