Of landscapes and old men
From the Weekend magazine: From portraits of old men he considered as the soul of the country to astonishing landscapes, Ahmed Al Shukaili shares his journey so far of finding that one photo he can call his favourite.
“I have always been fascinated by the unique expression of the Omani portraits,” shared Ahmed Al Shukaili. “The Glistens with Grey exhibit is very dear to me as the collection won me His Majesty’s award for Art, Culture and Literature.”
Conducted under the patronage of Mr Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Busaidi, director of the Photographic Society of Oman, and His Excellency Roland Dubertrand, ambassador of France, Ahmed’s 3-week exhibit took centre stage at Al Inshirah Street from May 26 to June 18, 2015.
The black and white photo of old men that made up the exhibit dotted Ahmed’s Instagram page. When I reached out to him through IG in the midst of a busy office feverish to get things done because of the long holiday, I didn’t expect him to respond quickly. But he did.
“What I am most proud is that the collection highlighted interesting old men of Oman. These are the people who helped build the Sultanate with their bare hands even up to the point that the hair on their head turned grey.”
“For me, all their efforts deserved recognition. For their sacrifices, I think it is important for us to give them proper honour. The photos are not only simple portraits. To me, they’re the soul of the country.”Asked when he knew he was going to be a photographer, Ahmed said, “There was no clear decision to
Asked when he knew he was going to be a photographer, Ahmed said, “There was no clear decision to be a photographer. I was into graphics designing during my university days and got exposure to the photo society, but I wasn’t serious in becoming a photographer then. It only started after I owned an SLR camera,” he said.
Ahmed explained that his interest towards photography got more serious when he attended a workshop conducted by famous National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry.
“It really changed the way I look at photography and especially people photography at that time,” he said. “Currently, I lean more towards landscape. It brings me joy and peace to be outdoors,” Ahmed said.
And Ahmed is doing a good job with landscapes. Several of the beach scene photographs posted on his IG wall is what exactly drew my attention to his body of work. He has mastered the intricacies of the sea and is able to make a few of them peaceful despite the turmoil of the waves. The combination of tension and serenity draws your attention and causes you to take a second look.
“All the photos I take are dear to me. As for my most favourite photo, I don’t have one yet. Maybe I haven’t captured it yet,” he said.
“Right now, the closest I think to what is my favourite is Dream’s Beach because first, it’s something that got me really impressed and also, it set the tone for my seascape photography style. And second, because it got me my first international win, an Honourable Mention, in a photo competition in France in 2009.“
As for his most memorable photography assignment, he said, “I don’t usually do assignments. But my 8-day trip to Salalah in 2009 with my best friends Salim Al-Wardi and Ahmed Al-Toqi was a trip that would always be engraved in my memory. We spend days in Dhofar doing nothing else but take photos of wonderful landscapes.