Fazal Ilahi Sheikh was born in 1965 in New York City. Since graduating from Princeton University in 1987, he has worked with displaced communities across East Africa, in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Brazil, Cuba and India.
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It is one thing to photograph a group of people, it
is another to try to understand them. For that you need time, and patience, and an innate respect for difference – the gulf between your own religion, politics, economic status, language, and those of
the person in front of you. Trying to bridge that
gulf with a camera invites suspicion and mis-representation…
Sheikh’s interest in photographing refugee communities began after he visited Kenya in the early 1990s and documented the refugee camps near the border with Somalia. He treats his subjects as individuals, identifying them by name, and writing texts that explain the political circumstances that forced them to leave their home…
Influenced by trips to his family’s home in Africa, Fazal Sheikh’s work has documented refugee communities in pictures that reveal the rich cultural and historical ties in some of the world’s most remote places.