Photographer Uses Lens To Share International Stories

By Ryan Ward | December 15, 2017


Saiyna Bashir was born in a small town in Pakistan. While visiting with her aunt one day she discovered a still camera.

“So I took that camera and I just started playing with it. Initially, it was just a hobby,” Saiyna said. “ I was just taking pictures of whatever I felt like.”

Saiyna Bashir posted her photos online and soon gained some attention from a local newspaper in Pakistan.

“That was really exciting. That’s when I realized that this is what I want to do,” Saiyna said.

A few years later, Saiyna Bashir would move to Chicago and the United States. Attending grad school to get her master’s degree in photography and journalism. In November of 2014, a group of students would take a trip to Ferguson, Missouri. Covering the protests and riots involving the shooting death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American male. Bashir would go along with the group.

“I could hear gun shots in parking lots and people were torching trash cans and then store fronts were being looted and set on fire,” Saiyna said. “I took this photo of the head of a mannequin lying on the street, and that photo really spoke to me because it was just a way of showing how people were protesting.”

After grad school Saiyna Bashir would get a job at the Capital Times newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. She would join the staff as a full-time photojournalist. While at the Capital Times, Saiyna would work on a photo essay involving Muslims in Madison.

“I did a series on Muslims in Madison and I took portraits of Muslims and talked to them about what their feelings are today,” Saiyna said. “I chatted with them and I talked to them, interviewed them, and they just basically told me that they feel like they’re being treated very unfairly. And so, those portraits I really enjoyed taking.”

Saiyna Bashir is now living her dream. Telling people’s story one click at a time.

”It’s just really great that you can be this neutral person. Who is hearing all of this and who understands what is going on and at the same time you want to show both sides of the story,” said Saiyna. “And in my case, I do it with my lens.”

Ryan Ward

Ryan Ward

Ryan Ward is a producer for the “Wisconsin Life” project and can rest easy after he finally found the perfect jar of homemade dill pickles at the farmer’s market in Madison. … just like his Grandma Shirley use to make!
2018-01-19T17:53:30-06:00Tags: , |

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