Let’s get right into it!
What influenced you to start being creative ?
To be honest, I started photography because one summer my sister got sick of seeing me at home and signed me up to a photography workshop. I took to it almost immediately. I did not take photography seriously due to any artistic reason or vision, I was photographing because I was bored and I liked the ego boost it gave me when people liked my photographs. This continues to drive me to this day: ego and curiosity.
What message do you want to give through your work?
It is difficult for me to articulate a message that I want to be shown through my work. The nature of what I do is quickly shot photographs based on feeling and intuition. So, when I am photographing I don’t think of a message that I want to give. But if I were to say what I want my photographs to do to people, it is to have them experience an emotional feeling and for them to create their own narrative on a personal and individual level. Similar to scents, to me, photographs are the embodiment of the Proustian memory; the involuntary memory evoked by the experience of everyday subjects. This is why I photograph the everyday, the mundane. There is such emotional resonance to be experienced through the exposure to everyday life. Moments, fleeting, that we rarely admit to ourselves, let alone stop and think about. This fascination of the mundane is what powers my message: to take a moment and experience what is often overlooked to evoke an emotion or a memory. I never want to impose a message on a viewer, instead I serve as the vessel in which they create their own experiences.
What themes do you often explore in your work and why?
I always found it difficult to narrow down the themes and reasons why I take certain shots. I tell myself that I take certain shots because at that specific moment something drew me to it or I thought it would be interesting to shoot it. Upon reflection on my work, I noticed a trend of themes running across the photographs I make. Namely themes of loneliness, isolation and dissonance. I can’t specify the reasons why these themes are prevalent in my photography. I’m a typically fast shooter, I almost don’t think when taking a photo; I work upon feeling and intuition. Whatever themes are evident in my work, they are thought of after taking the photo, not during.
What inspired the images you submitted to us?
The definition of transition is the process of changing from one state to another. The photo set, more than transition, represents the lack of it. The state of purgatory where depression and anxiety cement such a hold one a person that it’s difficult to grow, to move on. I’ve experienced this lack of transition when I left Kuwait to study abroad. Recently, I realised that I unconsciously photograph loneliness, solitude. On a personal level, my lack of transition into being more comfortable living outside the Middle East was hindered by acute depression and anxiety, an exacerbation of loneliness. A state of the stationary quotidian. These pictures are the lack of transition, they are the hold of mental illness to move forward. These images represent purgatory.
What is your favourite project that you have created in the past and why?
My favourite art work that I’ve created definitely has to be the zine I collaborated on with my friend Lujain, Familiar. What made Familiar special was not only the content of the work but the process in which it came into being. Initially we discussed a process in which photos created in an organised manner and would have clear and evident themes throughout the work. The result was controlled chaos. During the shooting phase of the process, we did not talk. There was no communication regarding what we would be shooting or how we would be shooting it. After this phase, we got our pictures and sent them to each other. The result was a surprising coherence and the matching of photos with each other that created a visual narrative with a central character. This unintended consequence of the process and ditching the plans we agreed upon is the most special aspect of the work to me. The narrative and the feelings from the photos were upon the viewer’s own interpretation. That was a conscience decision; to give the viewer the freedom to create their own stories and experience their own emotions with every photo. We do not want to impose our own vision or narrative upon the viewer with this project.
What is your most important artistic tool?
VSCO cam. In all honesty, if I didn’t have VSCO as my main editing tool on my phone I probably wouldn’t have been as enthusiastic about photography. I hate editing more than anything, especially with Photoshop and Light Room. It slows me down and takes the joy away from photography. As Kendrick says: I’m so fucking sick and tired of the Photoshop. This is the motto right there.
What are your thoughts on being an artist in today’s world?
We are living in a special time when it comes to Arabic artists and creatives. The scene has been exploding for a while especially with younger, more amateur artists and the work everyone has been producing is ever so inspiring and beautiful. We are living in a time of a collective glow up. All the work I am witnessing by these brilliant creatives make me grow two inches.
What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative or what advice would you give to someone?
For photography, the simplest and most important advice I can give is that gear does not matter. The camera in your hand is just a tool, it is meant to be used and abused to make the work. Moreover, be careful of getting into the habit of constantly buying camera equipment thinking it would get you to produce better photos. Speaking from personal experience, doing that would only push you further into the rabbit hole. You’ll always be chasing this idea of ‘if I get this lens or camera, my photos will be better’. They will never be. Growth and improvement comes internally through practice and discipline, not with gear. That is why I mostly shoot with one lens.
Who are your favourite Arab artists at the moment?
Khaled al Jabri: @k_aljabri / Norah al Jassar: @notnorrah / Aziz al Mutawa: @azizmutawa / Hayat Abdulsaheb: @_collision / Lujain: @__starface / Maryam al Zaabi: @fixthesky / Sara Ahmed: @glitchedplant .
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