Meet Razan Elbaba, an 18-year-old photography student at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
She came up with the photo series “Icons,” a collection of recreated self-portraits of iconic women like Cleopatra, Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo and more, as a project for her “Narrative Photography” class.
Elbaba’s identity and experiences as a Muslim woman are what inspired her to create the bold series.
“Now and more than ever, there is a greater fear among women in the United States who choose to wear hijab including myself,” Elbaba said.
Elbaba says she chose these particular women to highlight because they embody fearlessness.
“These women are in industries where they call their own shots,” she said. “They also created and designed their own lives and were not simply muses of men.”
Through the images, Elbaba shows that Muslim women are strong, ambitious, intelligent, graceful and fearless.
“By putting myself, a woman who wears hijab, behind the icon, I show that although we might look different, we all possess the same inherent strength and value,” she said.
“By putting myself, a woman who wears hijab, behind the icon, I show that although we might look different, we all possess the same inherent strength and value”
Elbaba was hesitant about the project at first. She explains that self-portraits aren’t her “thing.”
“There is a sense of vulnerability and total exposure the minute you turn yourself around, facing the camera,” she said.
Despite being slightly uncomfortable, Elbaba says it was her goal to make the project as personal as possible and producing self-portraits was the the way to do it.
Elbaba hopes to continue the series by adding a geographical twist to it and featuring women who are not as well-known.
Take a look at the stunning photos: