Brittany Hathaway + Brittany Hathaway Photography
As an artist and an altruist, Brittany Hathaway believes the world is an innately beautiful place. She's learned the inspirational power of photography and how to harness it through her formal education in Fine Arts at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Earlier this year, in response to fear she observed around her own family's dinner table, Brittany started a project photographing her Muslim neighbors throughout Massachusetts.
Why do you do what you do?
My artistic and personal motivation is to be the change I wish to see in the world. I strongly believe that there is a benevolent nature in every walk of life, and I strive to nurture it.
What is the best compliment you've ever received?
An acquaintance in art school once told me I was a "zealous" person. At the time I didn't know what this word meant (and was afraid of being criticized) so I anxiously scrambled to look it up. Since then, I have been acutely aware of this facet of my personality and humor it as a secret super power.
Where do you thrive?
My heart overflows when I am surrounded by beautiful natural light and color, amidst creature comforts, or when I am with loved ones exploring a culture or place I've never seen before.
What's one bad habit you can't seem to shake?
I often struggle with over-scheduling myself. My current strategy to fight this bad habit this to block of time to actively "do nothing" with my husband (Nicholas) and cats (Otis, Sgt. Pepper, and Johnny). This works most of the time but it's not a perfect system. Also, frozen yogurt.
What's the best idea you've heard recently?
The TED Radio Hour has all of the best ideas I've heard always.
What's the biggest lesson you learned this past year?
In February 2017 I was seated at my family dinner table when it became irrevocably obvious to me that the words "Muslim" and "Islam" were causing a reaction of anxiety. Knowing in my heart this was wrong, I was confident that only one side of a story was being told, and this anxiety came from fearing the unknown. The next morning, I chose to do something about it.
With some self-reflection and a whole lot of hope, I made a resolution to educate myself and lend my photography to any Muslim American interested in having a platform for self-representation. I titled this passion project, "Reframing Islam: A Photographic Resolution".
After announcing my project on social media, I have been welcomed into the homes, dinner tables, mosques, carnival tents, grade schools, "Meet a Muslim" events, and many places in-between to make portraits and take personal statements of over a hundred Muslim Americans across Massachusetts.
The beauty of this resolution is: not only did I learn what the words "Muslim" and "Islam" mean from the vibrant and loving Muslim communities first hand (and loved every texture, smell, taste, sound, and friend I have made along the way!) I was also able to share these beautiful portraits and thoughtful personal statements across the internet, with Legislatures at the Massachusetts State House, and (full circle for me) with my family dinner table.
When you ask me what the biggest lesson I've learned this year is, I can confidently respond that ANYONE can be the change they want to see in their world. I wanted to see more open-minds and open-hearts in my community and I did that by creating an open-dialogue.
You can follow Brittany's Photography on Instagram and Facebook.
And check out the portraits of her Reframing Islam series here.