PhotographerElliot Ross
PrizePortraiture / Culture
Entry Description

DYNASTY Dynasty stems from my own anxiety that the country of my cultural identity is in decline. I think back to what the United States of America once was. A country of constant innovation, independence and above all, a society united in a common pride for what we stood for. Now I see a land divided on many fronts and distracted from seeing a long term vision; blind to our own regression. Dynasty is a look into the current human condition of cultures that were once empire builders and societies on the forefront of human advancement. Peoples whose ancestors conquered vast swaths of land, amassed extraordinary wealth, and exported ideology to the far horizons. However, as history has proven, even the greatest empires will eventually fall. This is a story of the culture that endures and the resilience of the individuals who perpetuate their heritage. This particular selection of work from Dynasty looks at the Berber (or Amazigh) people of Morocco. Just after the first millennia A.D. during the Almoravid Dynasty, the Berbers controlled much of Northern Africa and Southern Iberia. Their domain was a nexus of religion, learning and commerce. It contained some of the greatest religious minds of their time, the oldest university in the world and vital trade routes through the Sahara. By conquest of neighboring empires they spread the teachings of Allah, architecture, freedom of movement and a common tongue.