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15 Pictures You Wouldn’t Expect to Find in “Everyday Middle East”

A ballet crew practicing against the ethereal backdrop of Saudi Arabia’s afternoon sunlight. Two boys playing in Gaza’s beach at sunset. A barbecue grill seeping its smoke through the palm trees at Safa Park in Dubai. Not what you had in mind when you picture the Middle East, right?

Each Friday, Everyday Middle East selects a photo to feature on their photography page, a crowd-sourcing initiative where everyone can share their stills by adding the hashtag #everydaymiddleeast. “This is what we are all about: going beyond the stereotypes and showing glimpses of everyday life in the region,” says the group’s Facebook page.

A Yemeni woman points the way into the “terror room”; but it’s not what you may think. The house features handcrafts, food and artwork completely made and run by women to support those who are not able to work outside the home. Meanwhile, on a balcony in Gaza, a Palestinian writer peers out of her home with the Italian phrase “stay human” tattooed in her arm, in memory of her fallen friend.

“Should we leave this up to chance, like we do everything?” asks Iranian photographer @ershadnik, as he leaves a startlingly silent contemplation of life in Iran. “The image is strikingly different and playful. The title hints at a narrative that you can’t put your finger on, and the image feels like a movie still. The photographer’s stated approach on Instagram is intriguing, he is marching to his own beat, which is always appreciated in the ubiquitous imagery of Middle East that often hints at oriental themes past,” says the page’s curator @habjouqa.

“It is a great risk to think of your reality in Arabic,” reads the wall of a university in Tunis. With random stills of daily life, this is what these spontaneous photographers are doing: they photograph a reality with its own language, too.

For more information: Follow their Instagram @everydaymiddleeast or their Facebook page.

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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