The Arabic phrase, Lawn Oyounak, translates to “The Color of His Eyes.” This can also be interpreted as the way one sees the world. At an age when you can imagine yourself to be anything, Mo is a young boy exploring his own identity while growing in a multicultural environment.
Featuring: Eslah Attar
United Photo Industries with additional support by B&H and X-Rite
James Estrin and David Gonzalez, Co-Editors of the New York Times Lens Blog
Mo dreams of building the world’s fastest car, putting the top down and feeling the wind press back the features of his face as he enters warp speed. He dreams of freedom. When he grows up, he also wants to become a doctor, because doctors make lots of money and save lives.
As an 11-year-old, he is caught between different worlds and different dreams. He is the youngest in our large family, constantly looking for a role that’s more than the littlest one in the room. He lives in the same house as I did, in a way so uniquely his own, and I’m inspired by his way of seeing our home.
He’ll spend hours on the trampoline and then immediately challenge himself to a game of chess. He navigates the labels that society assigns him and follows his independent spirit to wherever curiosity may lead him.
Mo is constantly changing.
I’m a photographer and photo editor interested in identity and immigration. Born to Syrian parents, I grew up in suburban Ohio. My hometown of Canton seemingly straddles disparate cultures of the Midwest and the Middle East, but my family and the Arab community there is wholly American. My work focuses on these kinds of complex relationships.
I’m currently a digital photo editor at National Geographic, living in Washington D.C. Prior to that, I worked at NPR and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and graduated from Kent State University in 2017.