New York Times photographic contest, 2018

In December 2018, I participated in the second annual New York Times student contest, in which we were asked to represent our generation (Generation Z) with one or three photographs in addition to a short essay, which you can read below. I have the great pleasure to say that I was selected as one of the fifteen total winners out of more than 2’000 participants worldwide. The winning picture is the one attached above. Check the main page here.

“Okay everybody, now ignore me. Start talking with each other and forget I have the camera pointed at you. Interact with each other.” This is what I said as soon as positioned them to find the best composition. I started taking photos of them and when I was happy with what I had I said “Great guys, I’m finished, you can stop now” but they ignored me “I’m finished with the photos, you can stop” and again they kept on talking genuinely.
So I stood there and I looked at my classmates, smiling. This is my last year with them. Next year we’ll start our own path, towards the future. We are all almost out of the teenager phase, all looking at adulthood life and I thought about how we are expected to know already what to do with our future. But we are still so young, we are so uncertain about whether there is a better path to follow or another. We are still figuring out what we like and our passions. Certainly, there are some of us who have clearer ideas, but most of us are pretty uncertain about what we want to become. I have been with my classmates for now many years and I can realize how much we have changed, grown, and matured. Yet, there is so much to improve in our personal growth. Being next to the teenage-adult border is not easy and it can be scary. Contrary to what many adults think, we are not only about phones and fitting in. My classmates kept on talking to each other because we are about change, art, passion and love. We are about discovering life and living it to the fullest until we are young.

An essay on Generation Z – Fatimah