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Photo Competition Results

Equal Third Place: Cheryn Abouesh

Judges’ comments:


“Intriguing portrait – 'who is she?' we wonder.


Descriptive of attempts to communicate and developing understanding of cultural conceptions and misconceptions.”




I’m sitting outside the Chattapur Temple alone at night, as I was tired after visiting a few other temples. I decided to wait for the group on their last temple visit. A lady dressed in traditional wear sitting across from me was staring me down with wide open eyes at first in the strangest way. After observing me for at least 10 minutes, and seeing that I had been observing her too (I was admiring her traditional dress) she began warming to me and spoke to me in Hindu. I’ve tried to gesture that I don’t understand however she has become super friendly and I guess she felt a sense of re-assurance after the initial sense of threat, which in a way is something we all experience universally. We always wonder how we will communicate and stress about how people will understand us. Although I don’t speak Hindu, I’ve come to the realisation that one of the main barriers we all face are our own misconceptions of other cultures. I’ve realised that although the locals may not understand me, and vice versa, a smile goes a long way. Just smiling at a person giving you the biggest frown has been like magic, making them break into a big toothy smile.

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