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Self Study


In each image I’ve incorporated myself twice, once as the Iranian and once as the American.

It has always been a struggle for me to explain myself, who I truly am, and how I should or shouldn’t act in culturally diverse situations. Occasionally I feel confused, proud, and even awkward about how to deal with the differences of my two halves. Am I Iranian? Am I American? Should I be Muslim from my father or Jewish from my mother? Such thoughts and issues are what puzzle me as to which behavior would be most appropriate. I feel that maybe these photographs will answer some questions. Questions people might have, or even questions I have for myself as a person who has lived biculturally and bilingually my whole life.

In each image I’ve incorporated myself twice, once as the Iranian and once as the American. In some of my images I see conflict and in others, harmony between my two selves. This exploration is a growing one and much more work will follow.


Natalie N. Abbassi is an Iranian/American, raised both in the United States and Iran and speaks both English and Farsi fluently. She recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BFA in design and a concentration in photography, and currently lives in Greensboro. Abbassi enjoys setting up scenarios and digital photo collages to discover a deeper understanding of who we are as complicated beings. The goal of her photographic communication is to tell the stories of individuals’s lives, as it helps us see the shared common ground between us all.

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7 comments for Self Study

  1. Comment by Cozy on July 1, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Only one word; ” INSPIRING”!

  2. Comment by Soheila Munro on July 2, 2011 at 6:42 am

    Excellent article and picture! I am sure many share this outlook and or confusion with you.

    My boys are also born from parents who are from different countries but unlike you, they haven’t had the chance to live in either countries.

  3. Comment by Nicky on July 2, 2011 at 8:46 am

    These are wonderfully sensitive and well thought-out images. It’s an unbiased statement of joined, not separate identities. Very refreshing and eye-opening!

  4. Comment by Peter on July 4, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    You describe my life. 30 sale ke tu amrika hastamo hanuz zendegi’am intoriye. One half here, one half there; parts reconciled, parts not.

    Nice visualization of the diaspora.

  5. Comment by Gino on July 20, 2011 at 1:59 am

    These are very nice. Very smart

  6. Comment by باباکوشا on August 7, 2011 at 6:14 am


  7. Comment by Vicki on November 4, 2011 at 3:52 am

    this is a simple but profound look into what being an immigrant is really like. You gain and you lose or you lose and you gain. It isn’t that simple but it is too.

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