This week and in the run up to the Holy month of Ramadan, we wanted our spotlight to be of something different - we wanted to spotlight photography. In recent years, the reputation of photography has increased substantially with some photos being auctioned at major auction houses for substantial amounts of money.
Photography has the power to capture a specific moment or a specific emotion. We can all probably recall powerful photographs from magazine covers and newspaper articles in history.
When we received Sara Russell's photographs, we were moved by the serenity that she captured in her Dome of the Rock photo taken from her Palestine series. The Dome of Rock houses the point from which the Holy Prophet (may eternal blessings and peace be upon him and his household) ascended into the heavens to meet his Lord on the Night Journey. The Dome of the Rock, and the nearby Al-Aqsa mosque are considered to be among the holiest sites in Islam.
We spoke to Sara about the story behind this photograph.
"We were kept in immigration for 10 hours even though we already had our visas authorised. I was really anxious that they were going to put us on the next flight home, but eventually they let us out. Sometimes when I travel, I know very little about the place I am going to. That not-knowing always adds to the sense of discovery of the unknown and the untold. After we were released, we made our way to the hotel in the Old Quarter of Jerusalem. It was dawn, I heard the call to prayer and I decided to head to the Dome of the Rock, which was only minutes away from the hotel.
I arrived around the time of the dawn prayer, there was nobody in the area of the Dome. I managed to take this photo with the birds flying in the background. It was like a dream. I suppose my message behind this photo is hope. Whatever disputes and wars and quarrels there may be - we always have the beauty of hope and faith. This was a moment of perfect peace, when hours earlier we were all anxious that we may never get to see this is awesome sight. And I want people who see this photo to remember that in every situation there is hope and peace and love - a moment for oneness, unity and remembrance in the True. At the Dome, you forget that you are in a place that is so disputed but even that dispute cannot corrupt the perfection of the birds flying or of the beautiful sunrise or sunset. It is just one magical moment that cannot be repeated again."