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Alumni Profiles: Ramie Ahmed, School of Visual Arts, BFA, Illustration, 2010

Poise, intimacy and strength suffuse Ramie Ahmed’s photography.

Focusing specifically in portraiture, Ahmed possesses a clear sense of himself and seeks to reveal the individual spirits of those around him, particularly in his political activism and the LGBTQ+ community. He spent his time at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) honing his voice. And voice plays a crucial role in his photography, whether his own or elevating the voices of his “chosen family.”

Shortly after high school, a “happy accident” occurred. Ahmed had been taking courses at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey, but was still seeking direction in his career when he enrolled in a black and white film photography course. What was supposed to be a chance to earn some more credits ended up determining his life goals.

He soon realized that art school was the next step on his path. He’d always wanted to go to New York City and ultimately chose SVA because he had heard the photography department and facilities were excellent and felt that the college was more affordable than the other New York options. He was “ready to go” and decided to “trust his instinct” and attend SVA.

While working towards his BFA in Photography and Video, his interests in art and politics came together. In New York, he became entrenched in protesting and formed friendships that would shape his art. He weathered the COVID-19 pandemic by working on self-portraiture and further engrossing himself in the protests ignited by the murder of George Floyd.

It was SVA faculty member Accra Shepp who encouraged him to bring his camera to the protests and photograph life around him.

One of his biggest achievements at SVA has been having professors who understand what it’s like to be working artists and who “push him.” During his college experience, he feels he was “blossoming everywhere.”

Ahmed describes his work as “intentional,” and, indeed, he works to cultivate relationships with everyone he photographs. His subjects act bravely to express themselves and exercise their rights as protestors. So it’s important to Ahmed to earn their trust. He never photographs anyone he hasn’t known for at least two years.

Since graduating, Ramie has continued to work with the Angelito Collective, which describes itself as “a multidisciplinary artist initiative dedicated to radical trans visibility,” and he has many other exciting opportunities coming his way, encouraging him to keep blossoming everywhere.

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