By Kody Ford

While Taraf Abu Hamdan is relatively new to photography, she doesn’t shoot like a novice. Her camera lens is often pointed towards her passion—the environment.

“My interest in photography stems from my desire to document my surroundings and the people I interact with,” she said. “My mother was a photographer and we had a dark room in the house. She gives me a lot of photography advice, but I often don’t think about much when I am clicking. I just try to capture the moment the best I can.”

After graduating from the University of Arkansas, she moved back to her native Jordan for a year before enrolling in the Environmental Science and Policy graduate program at Columbia University. She bought a Canon Rebel and started taking pictures everywhere during her time in NYC.

“New York City lends itself to photography,” she said. “It gave me the chance to experiment with various techniques.”

She recently started an environmental blog Echoing Terra, which is a very informal place where she blogs her thoughts about environmental issues, and hopes to fully integrate her love of the environment where her photography with some upcoming projects this fall.

Taraf has shared pictures of her return home to Jordan.  (View them in the slide shows below.)  Hear about the locations from Taraf in her words:

“Shatna, is a small village in the north and this was my first time there. Some of the photos were taken in Shatna were during an art exhibition, where local and international artists set up several art installations throughout the village along a walking trail, as attendees we were able to walk through the village and enter several homes (most seemed abandoned) to look at different installations.”

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“Petra is one of my favorite places in Jordan. It is an entire city carved out of rose-colored rock in the south of Jordan and was the capital city of the Nebatians. The beautiful landscapes always take my breath away, even though I have been there numerous times. The Bedouin vibe in the area is very unique. My favorite part is walking through the siq (the deep slit in the rock), which is a long hike, and then starting to catch a glimpse of the treasury.”

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“Wadi-Rum is another favorite. It’s located in the south it is one of Jordan’s largest valleys, and is absolutely beautiful from the land formations to the color of the sand to the Bedouin spirit. It is also an amazing place for star gazing and adventure tourism.”

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“Al-Kerak Castle is one of the largest Crusader castles in the Levant, located south of Amman. It overlooks beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.”

“Souk Jara is a summer flea market in downtown Amman, with local artists, performances and merchants.”

“The Dead Sea is the Earth’s lowest elevation. The salt formations are beautiful. The mud has amazing medicinal properties, and was one of the first health resorts (historically).”

View more of her photographs in the slideshow below.

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