Engineering student Fadi Jozif takes a striking portrait
Fadi Jozif, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student, was born and raised in Iraq. He moved to Canada in 1999 with his family and now considers Toronto his home. He and his family were members of Iraq’s small population of Christians. North Americans tend to think, mistakenly, that there are no Christians in Iraq, says Jozif. Although he speaks Arabic, Jozif is Chaldean.
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Jozif bought his first camera in 2006 in order to take photos of his loved ones, and hasn’t looked back. Jozif enjoys taking portraits, sometimes planning a photograph for months. “Sometimes ideas overlap and my mind becomes very crowded,” he says.
Jozif hopes this photo will shed some light on the persecution of Iraq’s Christians. The model is his cousin, Athraa, whose family immigrated to the United States two years ago to escape death threats. Jozif hadn’t seen his cousin since they were very young children, until this past August when their two families took a trip to Niagara Falls.
He decided to take a portrait of his cousin that day, with every detail planned regarding how to stage it. He borrowed a green scarf from his sister, which happened to match Athraa’s eyes. Athraa laughed at the irony of the idea, saying, “I’ve never worn a scarf in my life, and now when I come to North America you want me to wear one!”