Matthew is an American photographer whose work often looks inward, exploring themes of belonging, relationships, and memory through his photographs and writings. His work often examines subcultures in America and elsewhere, looking closely at how...
Focus:Journalist, Reporter, Fine Art, History, Multimedia, News, Video, Photography, Portraiture, Author, Director of Photography, Visuals Editor, International News, Humanitarian, Opinions, Impact, Cinematography, Human Rights, International, Creative Professional, Artist, Multidisciplinary Artist, Film Editor, Multimedia Journalist, Magazine, Editorial, Photo Shoots, Newspapers, Editing, Visual Artist
Covering:Asia,Europe,Latin America,USA & Canada
Skills:Research, Audio Recording, Film Scanning, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Premier, Photo Editing, Art Direction, Multimedia Production, Photojournalism, Retouching, Video Editing, Film Photography, Cinematographer
Mandaeans at the Guadalupe river outside of San Antonio, Texas in 2018 after their baptisms from left, Bahman Ebadeh Ahvazi, Shahram Ebadfardzadeh, Sobhan Zahrooni, his father Hanoon Zahrooni, Sabah Al Dehaisy, and Hormoz Ebadeh Ahvazi. Mandaeans use the ceremony to purify themselves for religious tasks that will connect them directly or through intermediaries to what they observe as the
Bahman Ebadeh Ahvazi is baptized by a Ganzibra, a Mandaean religious priest, who lives in Australia, in the Guadalupe river outside of San Antonio in November 2018. The Mandaeans of this community have been coming to the river here for about the last 15 years. Many have said that the climate and landscape that they
Hormoz Ebadeh Ahvazi washes his religious garments in the river as he and a group of Mandaean Eshkendas, or holy religious men, break their self-isolations during the Coronavirus Pandemic to pray at the river
Members of the Mandaean Community in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. celebrate Devha Raba, the time when the angels leave the earth and everyone must stay inside for 36 hours until they return on Friday, July 16 and Sunday July, 18, 2021. Friends and family Behzad Moshiri, Pirouz Zahrouni, and Sahi Nasimi celebrate the traditional meal of Dahva Raba in San Antonio, TX, U.S. on Friday, July 16, 2021. Pirouz
Members of the Mandaean Community in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. celebrate Devha Raba, the time when the angels leave the earth and everyone must stay inside for 36 hours until they return on Friday, July 16 and Sunday July, 18, 2021.
Sam Sagar, 48, his wife Mays Sagar, 40, and their two children, Heylana, 2.5 months old, and Ilan, 3, pose for a portrait outside their home in San Antonio, Texas. Both Sam and Mays are Iraqi Mandaean refugees. They met online through mutual friends while Sam was living in Texas and Mays was living in Canada, where they had been respectively placed through a refugee program. While still in Iraq, Mays brother was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda and eventually released without explanation. Mays herself was threatened for not wearing a hijab, the Muslim head scarf, correctly while working at a hospital. Mays
A portrait of Sara Sabti, 34-year-old Mandaean woman who stays alone in her apartment in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. on May 14, 2020. Sabti is originally from Iran, immigrating to the U.S. over 5 years ago. She has worked in jewelry stores, for the Veterans Administration and now as a driver for Lyft.
Roza Saboteh, 13, a young Mandaean girl, who sings in the small Mandaean choir of San Antonio, Texas. Saboteh was 8 when she and her family moved to Texas from Iran. One of her sisters still lives Iran, who she misses.
Members of the Mandaean youth choir of San Antonio practice together at the Mandi, or Mandaean community center, in San Antonio, Texas on Monday, January 20, 2020. Members of the choir include the composer, Yaya J., (father), Azar E. (Wife), choir leader Ayda J. (18 with long hair), Atra J. (Assistant singer), Rosa S. (Wearing glasses), Heebel Ahwazi (with air nike shirt), and Yahanna E (tenor singer and Shahram
Shahram Ebadfardzadeh, a Mandaean religious community organizer, poses for a portrait on the banks of the Guadalupe River in San Antonio, Texas. Shahram and his family moved from Iran almost 10 years ago. He and his family left Iran due to the harsh reality of religious persecution. Being Mandaean restricted his ability to go to school and to find a job, where the majority of people are Muslim. He and his wife had to name their children traditional Muslim names as well, instead of their preferred Mandaean.
Sam Sagar, 48, holds Heylana, 2.5 months old, for a portrait outside their home in San Antonio, Texas. Both Sam and his wife Mays are Iraqi Mandaean refugees. They met online through mutual friends while Sam was living in Texas and Mays was living in Canada, where they had been respectively placed through a refugee program.
Twin brothers, Daniel, left, and Davood, right, Keshmiri at their home in San Antonio, TX, U.S. on September 25, 2020, the day that Davood received his American citizenship. Daniel received his two days before.
Davood Keshmiri, 18, attends a local car racing event known as drifting at the San Antonio Raceway in November 2019. Keshmiri, who works at a car dealership in town and is studying for a business degree at Alamo Colleges, has a passion for cars and eventually wants to join those who race on the track every month. Keshmiri arrived in the U.S. from Iran when he was 12 along with his family. He says that when he arrived at school, his classmates would ask him if they had buildings and cars in Iran. He says that he later thought it was amusing because as a child he had questioned whether people in Texas rode horses to get around. Recently Keshmiri, who was a member of the ROTC at his high school, also received his American citizenship along with his family members after 6 years of waiting.
The narrative around refugees and immigrants continues to foment a negative undercurrent in today’s America. Texas is second only to California in accepting refugees since 2002. Such an atmosphere of inclusion is threatened by ignorance and fear surrounding specific communities. One of those communities fleeing religious persecution abroad that has decided to settle in Texas, is the Mandaeans. They are a closed, ethno-religious community originating in the Middle East, on the present-day border of Iran and Iraq. They are often identified by their religious practices, which include river baptisms by members in flowing white robes. Their holy books are written in ancient Aramaic. With a population of approximately 3,000 in San Antonio, Texas alone, (the largest of any U.S. city) the community here constitutes a major percentage of the nearly 70,000 that remain worldwide. After the beginning of The Iraq War in 2003 and subsequent instability in the region, larger numbers sought sanctuary elsewhere. The generation of Mandaeans growing up today will have to face the challenge of coming to terms with their past and their future in America.