My name is Katie Williams and I am a photographer for the Daily Tar Heel. My assignment for the day was to shoot a feature. You might notice some pictures in the paper with no article attached – these are features. Features are different than normal assignments because they allow much more freedom. They have no article attached with them, so the photographer gets to choose what he or she wants to take pictures of. This can be both daunting and enriching.
This particular feature happened on accident. The event that I was originally going to go to was cancelled. Quickly, I scanned my go-to resources for feature assignments: Facebook and the UNC Events page. In scrolling through the UNC Events page, I noticed that there was a Nowruz Persian New Year Celebration at Wilson Library. New Years is one of my favorite holidays and so I was naturally drawn to this event. Culture events are really good events to shoot because they usually have really unique things in them. This event did not dissapoint.
It was really crowded when I got there. A highlighted feature of this event was the exhibit of rare Persian materials that the library recently acquired. While it was really interesting to look at, I didn’t feel like this was what I wanted to take a picture of for this event. I turned around and noticed that there was a man doing calligraphy right by the entrance to the library and instantly felt like this was what I wanted to take pictures of.
Majid Roohafza is the man performing calligraphy in the photographs. I talked with Majid a little bit before I started photographing him. This is important because in talking to your subject you can learn where you want to take your photo. For me, it helps decide how I will capture the moment and what I will focus on. Majid told me that has been doing calligraphy since he was nine years old. He lives in Durham and is currently an engineer. I thought it was really interesting that he balanced art (calligraphy) with engineering. That’s how I came up with the photo with the focus on his hands. In the picture he is writing a form of “Nowruz” on paper. He did many of these throughout the event and those who came got to take one home!