By Ruba Aleryani
“Never Give Up. It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” Those are the words of 24-year-old freelance photographer Sharaf Alhothi. He started his journey into the world of photography while in college. Exposed to art at a young age, he recalls being “obsessed with art” and experimenting with Fujifilm and Polaroid cameras. But it was not until college, where he studied Digital Photography, that Sharaf was able to feed his growing infatuation. It was there that he developed a fondness for various types of photography, including fine art, dark art and conceptual photography, as well as many others styles that now embody his work.
To Sharaf, being a photographer was “fate“. As a photographer, he seeks to drive his work into the direction of new ideas. He admits that being a photographer in Yemen is only challenging when it comes to dealing with clients. Apart from that, he views Yemen as one of the best countries to photograph in – especially when it comes to its unique surroundings and beautiful landscapes. Albeit “Yemen is full of art” in his eyes, he still believes that it will take some time before Yemen is awarded the same photographic recognition as its counterparts.
Sharaf’s method of capturing photographs is unique. He first comes up with a concept or idea then creates a photographical message that goes along with that concept. He states that “coming up with creative ideas in photography is creating imagination in our minds, and applying to it” and that new ideas in photography have no limits. Sharaf’s limitless and enthusiastic attitude have led him to open his own studio, Gomra Studio Photography, where he has found a space to showcase his photography in Sana’a and manifest his ideas.
Through his studio, Sharaf also attempts to correct the misconception that “anyone” with a camera can now become a photographer. He reiterates that it isn’t just the camera that takes good photographs, but the ambitious photographer with a great vision. He believes that photography “goes beyond the picture” and does not only involve pressing the shutter button. For him, photography is not only an art, but also a “study” and a combination of both science and art.
As one of the many aspiring photographers in Yemen, Sharaf continues to conceive new ideas in an effort to reveal the hidden jewels of Yemen. He dreams that his future not only involves the art of photography, but also the art of observation and the ability to take a vision and convey it accurately to his audience. For many, photography is merely an art, but for Sharaf it is a duty, a passion that must be fulfilled.
Ruba Aleryani is a Yemeni student concentrating in Development Studies at Brown University in the US. She is an aspiring writer, photographer, and filmmaker.Français