Seventeen years is a number that holds significance to me. It’s the age in which I left my hometown of Ramallah to study abroad, it’s also the number of years it took me to return home. In seventeen years a place can change a lot. In the past couple of decades Ramallah has undergone significant transformation due to the rapidly changing political landscape. What was once the only place I knew suddenly felt unfamiliar and strange.
I wanted to converse with my new home, feel the changes that have occurred to its people, streets, and neighborhoods- and there was only one way I knew how to do that. I started taking regular strolls- mostly in the crowded city center- but also in some neighborhoods, and along the way I photographed fleeting moments that spoke to me. Eventually I became obsessed with the unique quality of light in this city, particularly how the two intersected. In summer- and winter time I chased after the fading light and explored its various iterations and impressions.
In Ramallah one gets the feeling that life is abnormal and about to change for the worse. What I am left with, after 2 years of photographing my hometown, is a collection of images that not only expresses the anxiety and claustrophobia within me but also the feeling of conflict and chaos palpable in the atmosphere. More like a self-portrait, these images depict the subjective rather than objective landscape of home. This is my Ramallah today.
Raed Abughazaleh is a photographer from Ramallah who lived in the United States for 17 years before deciding to move back home. He photographs his surrounding natural and urban landscape with particular attention to the often-missed details of life. He currently teaches pharmacy at a local university and publishes a regular blog on his website that includes images from current photo projects. You can find his website here: www.RaedAbughazaleh.com.