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ONE PHOTO – ONE STORY

02.02.2015

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“II met Imran by chance in the streets of Bangtao, a peaceful village exclusively inhabited by Muslims and situated in Thailand on the island of Phuket, a flagship destination of mass tourism.

Imran belongs to the 6 to 10 % of Muslim Thai. A former tourist guide, she is now a housewife and also takes care of her father, who is wearing a sarong (the traditional wrap-around cloth) in the photo.

Pleased to talk about her life as a Muslim in a country mostly made up of Buddhists, she invited me and my journalist colleague to her home. Cements walls, decorated only with two Islamic symbols, shows how humble the family’s life is. But the fitness equipment jars with the minimalist decor… and that was what I appreciate so much in the photo!

With absolutely no shyness and just to entertain us, Imran started doing her workout while continuing the discussion. In the West, people quite often associate Islamic dress with the submission of women, austerity and a dilution of personality. But Imran' radiant face and her big smile contrast with the idea assumed by the clothing.

The Media always talk about Muslims in Thailand when they hold violent demonstrations or when separatists commit acts of terrorism. In this photo, Imran becomes the spokesperson of another reality. With her long loose dress and her white pants, she looks like a bird taking flight. And this childish lightness is precisely the message I wanted to convey.”

Pascal Meunier

Pascal Meunier is a documentary photographer based in Paris. His latest photographic works relate mainly to Muslims. He does not concentrate on current events of a political nature, but prefers to show the intrinsic culture in each country he is visiting instead. He has published three books about Oriental public bathhouses. He contributes to Geo, Le Monde, L’Espresso, El País, Newsweek …

www.pascalmeunier.com
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