All photos by Mahtab Hussain
Over a period of nine years, Mahtab Hussain photographed young, working class, Muslim men in Birmingham, London and Nottingham.
The portraits form the basis of his new photo series and exhibition You Get Me? which will be on display at the Autograph ABP gallery in Shoreditch, London from Friday 5 May.
To create the project, Hussain would ask his subjects, who all identify as Muslim, to offer their take on issues such as identity, discrimination, culture, religion and gender. After recording these conversations, he would take their picture.
What results is a unique look into the lives of a demographic rarely given a voice in mainstream media. As Hussain told Buzzfeed News, ‘no one truly understands where these men are coming from.’
Take a look at some of Hussain’s photos below, which all come courtesy of Autograph ABP. With help from the Buzzfeed News article, we have included quotes from some of the men Hussain interviewed. However, none are attributed to specific individuals in the portraits.
“If someone were to ask my identity? I always think, Oh yes, I’m British, right? But you have to always feel like, No, OK, British Muslim, because you know you’d get second looks…I love this country, bro…Look, this country gives me food and shelter over my head.”
“I feel I’m more Pakistani than the other groups, because that’s the community I grew up with and that’s the community my father associates with. So I can relate to them. I can also relate to Britain because I live here and I have a passport and I’ve spent my whole life here and I’m happy here – and it’s given me a lot of opportunity, although I’ve also suffered a lot of setbacks, but that’s made me grow and develop as a person and I may not have done that if I’d had a silver spoon.”
“I’m openly fine telling people I’m Muslim. Even though I’m aware of the label, I’m still open and confident about it. If someone were to come and ask me, ‘What do you believe in?’, I’ll openly say Islam.”
A photobook of the project will be published in June. For more information about the You Get Me? exhibition by Mahtab Hussain, head to the Autograph ABP website.