Location: Kuwait
Date: 2022
Medium: Fujifilm fp-100c - Poloriod Photo express 

This project relates to a group of individuals known as Bedoon in my home country of Kuwait. In Arabic, the word bedoon means without. In this case, these individuals are bidoon jensya, without citizenship, in other words stateless. Though many date their presence in Kuwait to the early 20th century, they lack the paperwork necessary to become citizens. They are the have-nots of Kuwait, not simply because they lack an identity, but also because their precarious existence contrasts so distinctly with the excesses to which Kuwait citizens are entitled. Official doors are closed to them whether it be to access education or health, get a job or simply get married. Compounding their vulnerable status is their almost complete anonymity in the society; few draw attention to their plight because the price for doing so is so high, whether it be harassment or expulsion. To most people, the bedoon are invisible.

Although I have encountered several bedoon over the years, I have always shied away from photographing them. The camera is a weapon of sorts - both good and bad. In some ways, it can expose difficult subjects, but at the same time it also can intimidate and compromise the person being photographed.Recently, however, I came across one individual who welcomed the idea of being photographed, of existing on paper in a world where they are told to disappear. I thought of the passport photo. Never having had a passport, most bedoon have never had their passport photo taken. And yet, a passport photo delivers a strong message: presence, identity, existence.

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© Huda Abdulmughni