Jaffar Al haddad is an Architecture student, a visual artist and a blogger. Jaffar continues to explore and document Manama through his camera lens in hopes to attract people of this generation to Manama’s rich culture.
Tell us a little about your self?
I am an Architecture Student, Visual Artist, and a blogger. Mostly, I document memories of places, and I believe that Architecture is a mirror that reflects the society’s present and reveals the past.
When did you start photography and what inspires you to photograph?
I started Photography in 2008. few years later of trying different forms of arts, my school teacher was supporting me through learning and achieving arts. sadly, I lost her support when I graduated from the primary school. So, I started to be more interested in photography as a kind of visual art. Before that I was more like exploring myself, trying to express my ideas and share it with others through different platforms and successfully photography took all my passion.
What are the themes you often explore in your work and why?
Because Humans are brilliant in how they create life out of anything and their behavior and attitude towards anything is outstanding. That’s why my work always tries to show the human’s impact towards societies, cities, and how those are the minor details of life that become memories that fade away at the end of the day. So through documentary and Street Photography, I symbolize the human’s ability of building up civilizations, beliefs and communities.
Tell me more about ‘From the City Alleys’…
“From the City Alleys” project reflects a personal vision. I always wonder “How youth people are not aware of the rich history Manama has and how they don’t appreciate it . most of the time my aim is to focus on this controversy in my photos between the traditional and modern Manama. Through this contrast, I present my artwork as a way to attract people of this generation to Manama’s rich culture.
How do you feel with Bahrain changing, do you feel tradition has been lost or are people still very connected with tradition and culture?
Bahrain is always looking for modernism and change, but I can’t say that Bahrainis lost their traditions and their cultural identity. In fact, they love their culture and they are proud of it. They organize cultural events where they try to discuss culture in terms of the past vs. present. However, since the outer cultural wave is huge to the new generation, I believe we need to involve the youth more culturally to keep a sort of a traditional cultural touch to their identities in this modern world.
What attracts you to the city?
The Human. Their creation to their own lives, their relationships, their memories and their history. I am also attracted by the architecture of the city’s buildings, the kind of its structures, and the messages you can always find in the graffiti. Honestly, I find myself in the city.
How important is it for you to document the places around Bahrain?
Bahrain is a country where change doesn’t stop. all the time. Things born and others disappear every moment. And, since the culture of documenting is not popular in Bahrain, it makes the history of those events, arts, and memories are prone to being forgotten. Documenting the places around Bahrain is the final ticket for us to travel through time and save those memories and this culture for the next generations.
You are also documenting an urban journey on your blog, tell me more?
“Urban Journey” is a visual blogging project focusing in documenting the city’s architecture and the social relationship with it. As a rediscovering journey to Manama City elements, this started after 3 years of reading about the city’s history and society. “Urban Journey” uses photography as a medium to document the city visually, where you can see the unique architectural elements within the city. All the blogs included a text that mainly focuses on describing and discussing those elements and raises questions for people to wonder about and Documents the local history through conversations with writers, activists, and researchers. It is the main project I work on now.
Your photographic style is very interesting, from portraits, digital collages, to multiple exposures and triptych photography, the one thing you always have is a story to tell. What is the next project you are working on?
In the last two years, I expressed in my artworks the relationship between people and places on different scales. The first one was the city scale, in “Multiple Exposure of Manama City” project. The second one was the neighborhood scale, in “Under the Shade” project. And my next project will go more specific in documenting this relationship, by drawing specific attention to a family of four brothers, and their relationship with their old house in Al-Hoora neighborhood, Manama. I’m planning to submit it to your Open Call for the London exhibition 2017.
Tell me about the art scene in Bahrain what are your thoughts on it?
The art scene in Bahrain is one of the most versatile scenes in the region. We have a lot of Artists, in different fields, different schools of art, and who have varied and diverse visions. However, we still need to involve more youths in this field, especially today, since we have a lot of potential but few hands working.
Connect us with a few of your favourite Arab Artists at the moment.
Find out more about Jaffar here!
You can also follow his journeyon his instagram!