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Sakeena, the peaceful one
One of the things that has come from working on my street portraiture project is that I find myself paying more attention to the faces of people I see as I go about my daily life, not just looking at their facial features, but also trying to look beyond their outward appearance to try to get a sense of their personality by noticing how they carry themselves, how they choose to dress or wear their hair, and how their expression might indicate something about who they are. When I first saw Sakeena, I had this impression of a calm intensity — calm and intense not usually being words that one thinks of as going together — and I immediately wanted to make her portrait. I approached her and explained my project, and she agreed to participate. When she told me her name, I asked her what language it came from and what it meant in that language. She explained that Sakeena is an Arabic name and that it is related to the Arabic word for peace or serenity or tranquility, which seemed to fit her perfectly. She doesn’t speak much Arabic, although part of her ancestry is Iraqi, but she is studying it now and hopes to spend a year between graduating high school and beginning college studying the language in the Middle East. When she told me that she was a student at the Renaissance School, I wasn’t entirely surprised, as all of the alums of that school that I have met seem to be really interesting people.
Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, VA