'Background' consists of a series of photographs depicting photo studios in six different cities in the Middle East. I want to photograph how the studios are set up, focussing on the backdrops each one of them uses, in order to document a certain period within society and its social structure. The project has personal meaning to me, as I grew up in my father's photographic studio in Damascus, and I use this subjectivity to navigate larger stories about history, social structures and memory, that often fall between the cracks of official narratives.
One of the first questions which the client asks when entering the studio is what background he/she will be standing in front of? It questions how the person would be represented against this specific backdrop, and whether it suits his/her taste or social code. In this respect, the backdrops themselves become a witness besides the photographer, and eventually turn into a platform or a supporting element in the image to memorise and shape time and place and its inhabitants.