About the Book

Book wins national award!

FRONT-COVER-FINAL“Different Roots, Common Dreams” has received two national book awards. First is a 2016 Benjamin Franklin book award from the Independent Book Publishers Association – a silver award in the Multicultural category.  I flew to Salt Lake City, UT, in early April for the award ceremony which was a fascinating and fun time.

ALSO, the book has won a 2016 “IPPY” book award from Independent Publishers (a separate organization), also a silver in the Multicultural-nonfiction adult category.

There are the two major organizations for books released by independent publishers.

I share these awards with my book publisher, Peter E. Randall Publisher, and especially with all my immigrant friends who so generously contributed to making my dreams of this book a reality!

By |March 15th, 2016|About the Book|Comments Off on Book wins national award!

How It Began

I am often asked why and how I started this project to photograph immigrants and refugees in New Hampshire. The inadequate answer is I really don’t know – it was like the proverbial light bulb going off over my head. Yet I can point to the convergence of two events that got me going.

In the fall of 2011, I enrolled in the photography program at the NH Institute of Art. To graduate, I needed a coherent body of photos. I was inspired by the work of Photography Department chair, Gary Samson, in Ghana and Cape Breton Island. His images of people in their environments are both artistic and profound.

That same fall, malicious graffiti was scrawled on the homes of four refugee families in Concord, NH. I was appalled with such a hateful act against families who had escaped violence and resettled here for a better future; one family was so frightened that they left New Hampshire. I decided then to use my photography to honor New Hampshire’s recent immigrants.

I spent the first year making connections with immigrant families and events. My camera and I went to English and citizenship classes. I met parents with adorable children, senior citizens with faces lined with time, and young adults wanting to share their own culture while embracing a new society. With each contact came more connections and the project quickly grew. Soon I was invited to homes, family parties, traditional celebrations, and sacred services.

I have received abundant cooperation and interest from the immigrant families, communities and organizations. I have been welcomed, even urged, to attend private and public events. The people seem to understand the message of my work – that though we may be different in many ways, we have the same dreams, to have safe families, meaningful jobs, and freedom to practice our cultural and religious traditions.

Bosnian Dance 021812-0203

One of my first photo shoots was with the Bosnian community in Manchester at a presentation of traditional dance, music, poetry, and song. This was the first time that the Bosnians had performed for the NH public while also teaching these traditions to their young people. 

By |June 29th, 2015|About the Book|0 Comments

Hopes and Dreams for This Book

I am excited to be writing this – the first blog for the website of my photography book about New Hampshire’s immigrants!

Different Roots, Common Dreams: New Hampshire’s Cultural Diversity, will showcase photographs of immigrants (many of them refugees) that I have taken over the past three years. There will also be information about immigration in New Hampshire and stories of resettling in this state written by NH’s immigrants. The book will be released in the Fall of 2015.

This book is not just mine. I took the photographs, but the book really belongs to the immigrant families in the Granite State. They are the ones who generously invited me and my camera into their lives. They are the ones who have shared with me the joys and difficulties of their journeys to get here. They are the ones who have  strengthened our towns and cities with cultural, ethnic and religious diversity.

I hope my photographs will last as an historic snapshot of immigrant communities in our state at this point in time. These families are part of a long legacy of newcomers to New Hampshire. Immigrants came from England and Scotland in the 1600s and 1700s; from Ireland, Canada and several European countries in the 1800s and early 1900s; and recently from Bhutan/Nepal, Burma, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, and many more.

Immigrants have made contributed to our state with a diversity of ideas; determination to secure a safe future for their families; clear focus on education for themselves and their children; and contributions to New Hampshire economy through jobs to support their families. We are lucky to count foreign-born residents among our friends and neighbors.

I will say more about the book’s contents in the next blog – so stay tuned! I will also share an occasional favorite photograph (they are all my favorites!) with each blog.

becky field photos

A young Burundi boy in Manchester is dressed up for a wedding.

 

By |March 18th, 2015|About the Book|0 Comments