In 1990, Columbus received a gift from Mogadishu, Somalia. We got one of the kindest, most generous and accepting individuals ever to walk the face of this big blue marble. It wasn’t until 1992 that Abdi Roble realized that he had a passion and a knack for capturing still images of people, but once he began exploring photography as a medium of expression, he quickly figured out how to embed empathy, compassion and emotional expression into the moments he froze in silver oxide.
Abdi’s Somali Documentary Project has captured a plethora of those moments that constitute the experience of the more than thirty-thousand Somali immigrants in Central Ohio. His exhibit, The Somali Diaspora, hung at Riffe long enough to receive accolades from virtually all of the major media in Columbus.
Like few other photographers, Abdi manages to capture wide varieties of emotion from as wide a variety of subjects. “My interest in people from different cultures has taken me to places beyond my imagination,” he says of his travels to Cuba, Japan, most of Europe and beyond. However, he states, “There are few language barriers between the subject and me, because we share the same experience.”
It is that empathy with complete strangers, whom he immediately considers friends, that is loudly and joyfully conveyed in the body of Abdi’s work. To see some of Abdi’s spectacular images and for information on his upcoming projects, please visit www.abdiroble.com