Aseer: Sand in an hourglass
Aseer: Sand in an hourglass
An entire culture in the Southwestern region of Saudi Arabia is on the verge of disappearing. I want to document it before it's gone.
An entire culture in the Southwestern region of Saudi Arabia is on the verge of disappearing. I want to document it before it's gone. Read more
Preamble: Everyday the Kingdom slowly shifts more and more towards a more modern and tech savvy lifestyle at the price of nearly 900 years of history. A shift which most likely will never be reversed.
The tribesmen of the southern Asir province, Hilly Tahama and on the Yemen border in southern Saudi Arabia are a unique society. Living in challenging mountain conditions, they are physically and culturally different in aspect from the majority of Saudis in other parts of the Kingdom. Eventually, as they adopt the lifestyle of the modern Saudi citizen, (and as the older generations reach their end) their unique character will be transformed and they will merge into the mainstream of society.
Why I need YOUR help: This project is near and dear to me. Ive been in the Kingdom for almost a decade. Saudi Arabia is a very misunderstood country, both within it's borders and outside. Projects like these help the world see Saudi as more than a country of hate and misogeny. Help me make this place seem more human and help me show the world just how colorful and vibrant life in one of the most inhospitable climates can be. One example of the different pulls the culture is facing was clearly visible the last time I was in the region. As I was returning from a shoot on location I saw a group of young men dressed in traditional Saudi garb (a thobe and a headscarf) were dancing around a car with music blaring. The thing that was different, was that they were dancing traditional Saudi/yemeni dances to a Michael Jackson single that had just come out.
What I want to do: Make as complete photographic record of the hill tribesmen of Aseer as can be made, collect their history and stories from tribal elders and produce a permanent record for posterity. Produce a collection of images and audio recordings which can be used to reflect the style and flavor of a region both for use inside and outside the Kingdom.
How I want to do it: Spend up to several weeks (if not more) in the area with vehicles, cameras and equipment to collect information in the company of a local guide. This could be split into 2 separate visits in a year. If this were to happen, then the first set of results could be examined, edited, collated and as a result the second expedition could fill in any missing information. In an effort to bring a different look and feel to the Aseer region, this project would require a mobile studio setup with a white seamless background set up on location in addition to a compliment of mobile studio lights.
Why is this important: Work has been done in the past documenting their culture but nothing has been done on the Aseer in the last 20 years. The culture could vanish before anyone has time to do a project like this again.
What would be done:
A documentary video and a book documenting the culture of the Asir region as it stands at this point in time for future posterity. At the end of the project, a book would be compiled to collate all the data and photographs to present a full rendition of the culture as it stands at this point in time. In addition exhibits will be organized in the Kingdom as well as in the Emirates. Tribes around the region are experiencing similar pulls from 21st century living and their fate must be recognized before it is too late.
The video would be a compilation of interviews with tribal elders and younger generational groups as well as footage from across the region. The piece will focus on what the cultural identity of Aseer is at this point in time consists of.
In addition the oral histories collected will be made available to unviersities and anyone who would find need for such data. The recorded data would be made available for free in order to properly contain one major aspect of their history.
- (30 days)