America’s Media Obsession with Shoes

Last week, the Muslim Student Organization in my university invited Muslim students for Iftar on campus. There were more than 80 Muslim students a number that is considered quite big. It was the biggest for a long time. As usual whenever Muslims in my city have an event the media is the first to cover this event; Eid, Ramadan, etc. One of the things I hate is when a photographer enters the Mosque and starts taking pictures. I hate it for two reasons; first, shooting pictures is noisy and second because the idea of someone taking pictures of me while praying makes me feel like a circus freak.

Anyway, I would like to show you these two pictures below. The first picture was taken by a reporter who covered last year’s Eid prayer. In her article, she posted two pictures one for people praying and the second picture is the one you see in Pic 1. As you know in Eid prayer the whole family attends; men, women and their kids. Yet, this reporter found the picture of shoes worth posting rather than a picture of people hugging each other or a picture of joyful kids. The second picture is taken in our Iftar last week. I would like to hear what you think about it because some people think it is normal and nothing wrong with this picture and others think it has no taste and shoes should not be zoomed in as in Pic 2. By the way, the angle in this picture makes it look as if the prayers are praying in front of their shoes rather the shoes are on the side but maybe because of the angle of the picture taken it looked as you see. What I want to say is that is Pic 2 is the best picture you can get if you are given two hours to shoot pictures around? Is it because of culture difference that I find this picture to be bad but Americans find it beautiful? Some Muslim students didn’t mind this picture though. What do you think?

EidPic 1 mso-Iftar Pic 2

7 thoughts on “America’s Media Obsession with Shoes

  1. I think it is a creative way of illustrating the point. The first picture is not that interesting – but in an alternative way it does show how many people attended the event. The second picture I find very beautiful – the shoes in the front and the people praying in the back. Very nicely done.

    Maybe it is a cultural thing? Many people know that Muslims take of their shoes to pray, so I guess the shoes becomes a symbol for islam – and in this context it also illustrates the spirit of Ramadan, because worshipping and praying is a big part of it.

  2. ananaddoush, I found that people who were born in an Arab country, including myself, didn’t see what people who were born in the United States, including people of Arabic Heritage, saw in the second picture. I value culture differences. I am very fortunate to be exposed to many cultures.

  3. mmm.. the picture it self is fine, but thats depends on the intentions of the photographer, and how its being seen as, for example like nadia saw that one way to see the pic as shoes are symbols of islam, and thats not accepted if u askeed any muslim, ofocuse she doent think that way but its how she sees the pic.. so the question is does taking a pic that might offend the others makes us smart? creative? artists? free ?
    actually this image could hold so many meanings
    1- globalization, according to brands and preyrs clothes
    2- another face that pryers is not a dangerous looking terorists..)
    3- its brain dazzeling as it puts muslim on the question of are we soo strict that a simple picture like this can offend us
    4- what have been mentiond above
    5- the prayers have a good taste with shoeses ))

  4. I am not going to give the photographer/journalist the benefit of the doubt. both photos are in bad taste. For the first one, as you mentioned, there were many other scenes to photograph the would drive the point home and better illustrate the events of the day. The second photo is even worse as it puts the guys praying and the shoes at the same level with about equal importance in the space provided by the shot.

    I would personally take offense by these images and would very likely contact the publication in protest.

  5. zuzik, thanks for the insight. As you mentioned there would be many interpretations for these pictures. At first, I was offended same as mab3oos but when I heard other people opinions I am not offended now but I still think the second picture (the first one is no no for me) shouldn’t be taken this way. mab3oos, thats what I think also other scenes may better illustrate the spiritual and joyful event.

  6. I do not agree with Naddosh that this is creative, you can be creative in many different ways not by concentrating on the shoes, I mean what is the point the reporter wants to prove that there were many people at the event by picturing their shoes; it will be a lot easier to picture the people who attend.

    Creativity is something and rudeness is something else, I agree with you that the reporter could picture the Joy of kids, the salam and hugs between the people who attend, the variety of food that was served, the different uniform if there was any.

    Compare when they report about their events especially the Social events and see that they chose to post the perfect pictures, pictures with kids having a good times.

    I am not insulted by the pictures, but it could be done better.

  7. Great site…keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,

    A definite great read..

    -Bill-Bartmann

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