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From Us in Charcoal: Ramsey

Meet Ramsey Khalifeh (he/him) — a photographer for Charcoal Magazine since 2021. Ramsey is currently a junior in the College of Communication studying journalism.

Ramsey was born in Boston but moved to Kuwait at a young age, and later Abu Dhabi. He is Lebanese, and although never living there, would visit two to three times a year. He found coming to the U.S. was hard, especially feeling different in comparison to the people around him.

These experiences have always been a challenge, which is why he values the hospitality within his culture. “For me, it’s all about hospitality… Lebanese people are very hospitable, so you can go to strangers' homes if they invite you for coffee,” he said.

Ramsey began his time at BU as an economics major, but quickly realized it wasn’t what he enjoyed or wanted to do. After trial and error, his natural curiosity for people and writing stories led him to journalism.

“Since I was a kid, I always liked to observe things and create a narrative with photos, so that translated with my curiosity to write and write stories”

Ramsey has been doing photography for about nine years. He started in sixth grade when he found his dad’s Canon film camera in his attic back in Abu Dhabi. After realizing he had no idea what film was, his interest fueled his desire to learn more about it.

Ramsey started off with street photography, mainly doing projects on his own, and began doing actual shoots in college. “That's uplifted what I’ve been trying to do, especially getting support from other people. Because starting, you always think, ‘I can do this on my own, like this is just for me.’ But seeing a whole pre-production of an idea and concept that's fleshed out really got me going as a photographer.”

His favorite piece of work as a photographer is his photo book titled “Haiyatu,” meaning my life in Arabic, which is a term of endearment. The photobook is a conglomeration of his journey with photography for the past 6 years.

“I’m really proud of that, I did that on my own. I did the layout, the publishing, and the photos, and then I wrote blurbs for each thing, contextualizing what I did.”

Ramsey defines himself as very curious, “and with that curiosity comes creativity and the act of wanting to create things that are tangible.”

Besides photography, he enjoys drawing and sound mixing on SoundCloud. He is currently a part time reporter for the Globe and writes for the Daily Free Press. In the future, he wants to be a staff writer, move to New York, and continue to expand his portfolio.

Make sure to come back and read more From Us in Charcoal.