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Self-reflection through Photography: Jabari Zuberi

Faheem Majeed and Jabari Zuberi at South Side Community Art Center Rose Land Exhibition, April 9, 2010

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your artwork.

My photography is the best reflection of myself. My work centers around portraiture and documentary photography. I try to create rich and engaging portraits that blend classic portraiture with a new vibrant energy. My roots in photography are based in the challenge of capturing stories that show the passions, joys and tribulations in each person’s life through images. From capturing portraits of a musical artist to that of a mother grieving for the lost of her son I try to keep my work powerful and truthful.

2. How does living/working or being from Chicago influence your creative practice?

I think working in Chicago has influenced me through many different ways. For example, I’ve been working on a documentary on violence in America. It started here in Chicago after seeing some of the problems it was having in that area. Also, I attended Columbia College Chicago and so it has influenced me in that way too.

3. Describe the moment that you realized that you wanted to make art a career.

Maybe around 13. It was shortly after discounting wanting to be a doctor, fireman, and lawyer. I found I was more interested in capturing and looking at different peoples lives and stories then doing them myself.

4. Can you remember your first memorable encounter with a piece of artwork?

I can’t even remember. I think art has been involved in my life since I was a kid. Its like second nature.

5. How have people responded to your work until this moment? Are you ever shocked by this response? How do you handle these responses?

People are normally very interested and drawn into the images I create. I’m not so much shocked but interested, because people see different things inside of my work. So i love to hear what their response is.

6. Where would you like to see yourself and your work in the next 5 years?

I’d like to see it to continue to grow and go new places. Hopefully to places that I have yet to see. I like the sense of adventure in my work.

7. Do you remember the first piece of work you ever created in your career?

How does it compare to the most recent? The first piece I ever created was a picture of some flames in a fireplace. While not literal flames i think my photography still holds that intensity.

8. Shameless plug: What are you doing right now? What shows are you in or preparing for? What series of work are you investigating, starting or thinking about starting?

I’m currently preparing for a show on December 1st at University of Illinois at Chicago that will be of my documentary entitled “Rose Land” that looks at violence in America. Additionally, I’m working on a show that will be at Columbia College Chicago in January of next year. This will include a different and new body of work.

See more of Jabari Zuberi’s work at:

“Rose land” A Photo-Documentary on Violence by Jabari Zuberi from Tempestt Hazel on Vimeo.

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