Maleeha Samer


In 2003 I hesitantly made a decision that would alter my life: I moved to Pakistan with my mother for the first two years of high school and completed my O-levels, 9th and 10th grade equivalent, in a rural town called Rabwah. I was hesitant to move to Pakistan, forfeiting first-world luxuries, saying goodbye to my friends and leaving behind “the known.” My experiences abroad led me to view the world with a different lens, seeing the individual and global level simultaneously. While in Pakistan, I was exposed to the socioeconomic statuses on either ends of the spectrum: human rights violations, corrupt governing, familial ties, and the power of the people. This exposure created a passion for social change that has evolved over the years and is displayed through fine art photojournalism, public health and social activism.

Aiming to combine my passion for social good with my career, I obtained degrees in photography, psychology, and public health. My eagerness to combine my photography skills with social change parallels my zeal for science. I want to call viewers to action through art that empowers, inspires, and provokes them to make a difference; not out of sensationally manipulative art, rather through a passion stirred in them. My mission is not only to propel myself as an artist and public health professional to better our global community, but to inspire others to become involved as well. I hope that my profession and work, art and science, will affect people on an individual and global level. Through my pursuit of photography, I want to enhance an understanding, and to contribute to the visual and social movements of mankind.

My cultural background has a big impact on my work, consciously and subconsciously. I was born in America, but my parents emigrated from Pakistan. I went through phases when I partially rejected one or the other nationality. Now, I have the freedom to partake in both cultures and benefit from the positive values of each. In Pakistan there is collectivism, family, loyalty, and steadfastness to traditions; with America there is individuality, diversity, and opportunity. My life is about balance: Eastern and Western culture, my numerous passions, and the different lenses that help me perceive and interact with those around me.