Feature: Photographer Maria Ovsyannikova

Maria Ovsyannikova is a Russian self taught Photographer based in Doha. She is in love with the culture of the Gulf and often goes out to beautiful locations taking cinematic images that tell a story.

Her connection with the Middle East and its culture in her own words, visual appreciation and the reflection of the beauty of it is shown through fine art photography.


” I see this part of the world through the prism of my own background and it adds to my vision.”
What inspires you and what do you like the most about going to the desert and taking photographs?

Desert is a sea of sand. I am inspired by the desert, because it seems infinite to me, it is powerful and very picturesque. Different shapes and textures, different light, different moods.

And also I am imagining life in desert. Where it was a home for a lot of people and a dangerous place at the same time. A person in the desert is a very interesting subject to describe.
Who are the models and how long does it take to take your photos?
I have different models, male models are mostly from GCC area ( Qatar, UAE, Bahrain). But also I have people from other countries posing for me. And I must admit, it’s not easy job for my models, because I ask them to climb sand dunes, run through the water, walk here, stand there on the edge, deal with some moody animals etc. I am very thankful to them for being so patient.
Some photoshoots can take 1 hour and some can be up to 5. All depends on the idea and inspiration that might come while shooting .
You take a lot of horses photos, what draws you to them the most?
I love horses and I see how people of GCC area love them too. Horses and camels playing big role in local culture and I can see strong connection between people and these two animals, who helped to survive throughout the history in these  harsh environmental conditions.
A Horse is a fast and powerful creature and I am inspired by its beauty, it’s character and ability to see through a person.
In some of my images I am trying to show this amazing bond between a rider and his horse. And all of it in the landscapes of Qatar, which keeps fascinating my eye and inspires me for new photography ideas.

“This is how I see the Qatar and  Arabian Gulf region.”

You can find more of her work here:


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Celebrating Emerging Middle Eastern Creatives