Home Fall 2022 Wissam Mukhtar

Wissam Mukhtar

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Wissam Mukhtar

I made sure to illustrate a very relatable scene that most, if not all, Rutgers students experienced throughout the past 2.5 years. I established the setting of my photo in my bedroom, where I spent 99 percent of my time in quarantine. On the very floor that I took my photos for the assignment, I have cried, laughed, video-chatted with friends, attended class in front of my desk, and binged, throughout my free time, all the books in frame.  

With nothing but my body and books exposed correctly surrounded by darkness, it portrays to the viewer how alone I felt in my room, robbed of my college experience and the companionship of my friends. 

I also used a small depth of field to portray how I became laser focused on my books (as they were all I had in a world devoid of typical companionship of friends and most of my family). I was able to capture my feelings in a moment in time that has lasted for almost three years now. 

The first thing that came to mind is that I’m a graduating senior who has spent only three semesters on an actual campus, while the remaining five have been online. I wanted to express my discontent and fear of entering the “real world” with the amount of information and skills that were frankly self-taught in the world of “Zoom University.” 

First I focused on my clothes. As I’m sure we’ve all done in the past 2.5 years, we dressed appropriately for whatever our cameras could pick up, while everything below the waist was sure to be pajamas. I wanted to show how unequipped I feel to graduate and get a job with just a “pajama education.” 

I’m tucking only one side of the dress shirt into my shorts, while crumpling my tie, in order to accentuate my unpreparedness for the future. The books in frame telling the story of how I self-taught most of my classes, especially the asynchronous ones, while turning to my recreational books to stay sane throughout the pandemic, are another crucial component of my self-portrait. 

As I shot the frames, I fell back into those feelings, and began to stress once more over my future, while reflecting on the blurry past of the pandemic. While I began to pull my hair to illustrate my depression and frustration, my facial expression for my select photo is not an act, and it’s heartbreaking to see myself so distraught. 

I wanted to include the book The Prince, by Niccolò Machiavelli, in center frame, as it has been one of my favorite reads throughout quarantine. Overall, I believe the contrast between the illuminated books and the darkness that surrounds my body illustrates perfectly how I felt and acted over the past two years. I hope my future will be as bright as those books.

 

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