FAR FETCHED

SHIBUI Issue - - MEET THE MAKER - CU­RA­TOR BRISEIS ONFRAY PHO­TOG­RA­PHER HAMZA EL ARABI (THE SA­FARER) COUN­TRIES MOROCCO AND FRANCE

NEVER CER­TAIN WHERE TO NEXT, HAMZA EL ARABI (THE SA­FARER) HAS AN IN­SA­TIABLE PAS­SION FOR MULTI-CUL­TURAL EX­PE­RI­ENCES AND AL­THOUGH A CHAR­TERED AC­COUN­TANT (CURRENLTY STUDY­ING A PhD IN PARIS), HE HAS FOUND HIS FOOT­ING AS A TRAVEL PHO­TOG­RA­PHER THAT RE­WARDS HIM WITH A PRICE­LESS FEEL­ING OF FREE­DOM.

WHERE ARE YOU ORIG­I­NALLY FROM AND WHERE ARE YOU BASED NOW?

I am from Morocco al­though based in Paris at the mo­ment.

YOU HAVE AN IM­PRES­SIVE IM­AGE LI­BRARY. WHEN DID YOU START WAN­DER­ING THE GLOBE AS A PHO­TOG­RA­PHER?

Thank you so much! I started wan­der­ing the globe in 2011. At this time, I took my very first long trip around Latin Amer­ica. This jour­ney had a huge im­pact on me and in­flu­enced the way I see the world. I have never stopped pack­ing since.

WHAT CAM­ERAS/VIDEOS DO YOU SHOOT WITH? I

usu­ally shoot with my old Canon 650D that I love. But I also use my iPhone a lot to catch un­ex­pected beauty.

TRAV­EL­LING FOR WORK IS AN EN­VI­ABLE GIG TO MANY. HOW DID YOU START A CA­REER IN TRAVEL PHO­TOG­RA­PHY?

Ha! I think this ques­tion might in­ter­est a lot of peo­ple. Work­ing as a travel pho­tog­ra­pher is not an easy job. Since shar­ing plat­forms went world­wide you re­ally need to have great pho­tog­ra­phy and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills to stand out. It is also a job that re­quires be­ing ad­ven­tur­ous, re­source­ful, very open-minded and able to put aside com­fort most of the time.

Few peo­ple know, but I have two Mas­ter De­grees in Man­age­ment Sciences. I am pri­mar­ily a char­tered ac­coun­tant and cur­rently fin­ish­ing a PhD in Paris.

I have the op­por­tu­nity to col­lab­o­rate dur­ing some of my trav­els, but a lot

of what I do is ded­i­cated to shar­ing my pas­sion for cul­tures and peo­ple around the planet.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?

Be­ing on the road and ex­plor­ing un­known places gives me a price­less feel­ing of free­dom.

Peo­ple that usu­ally travel with me are now used to get­ting up at sun­rise and ex­plor­ing non-stop, try­ing to get in touch with peo­ple to un­der­stand their cul­tures and be­liefs. My cu­rios­ity about the world is just in­sa­tiable. I por­tray cul­tures of the world through so­cial me­dia be­cause I be­lieve it is a great way to al­lay ir­ra­tional fears and par­tic­i­pate in in­ter­cul­tural di­a­logue on a global scale.

FROM PARIS TO THE PHILIP­PINES, WITH MANY EX­OTIC DES­TI­NA­TIONS BE­TWEEN, WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEM­O­RABLE ‘WOW’ TRAVEL EX­PE­RI­ENCE OR SCENE?

The most mem­o­rable is prob­a­bly Bo­livia. The im­pres­sions of the Bo­li­vian Alti­plano (Plateau) have never left me. It’s the first time I have cried be­cause of beauty. I didn’t even ex­pect this feel­ing to ex­ist.

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHICH DES­TI­NA­TION TO GO NEXT?

I do watch a lot of doc­u­men­taries on a daily ba­sis and most of the time, this is where I get my in­spi­ra­tion from. But some­times just the name of places can make me book a ticket.

YOU ALSO DO DOC­U­MEN­TARIES. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE SUB­JECT OR PLACE THAT YOU LOVE TO PHO­TO­GRAPH OR RECORD?

I would say I am learn­ing to do so, on my own, just like pho­tog­ra­phy. Mak­ing doc­u­men­taries would be a fab­u­lous out­come. There are so many sub­jects around the world! Ba­si­cally, ev­ery sub­ject that would help us un­der­stand and re­spect the Other in all of their dif­fer­ences.

TOP PHO­TOG­RA­PHY TIP FOR THE BE­GIN­NERS?

Fol­low your emo­tions and in­stinct in the things you cap­ture. If it has a mean­ing for your heart it will def­i­nitely have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the oth­ers.

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR CAM­ERA GEAR SAFE WHEN TRAV­EL­LING?

I carry it ev­ery­where, around me.

DO YOU HAVE A LO­CAL’S TIP ON WHAT TO SEE/VISIT WHERE YOU ARE CUR­RENTLY BASED?

Paris is even more beau­ti­ful at night.

WHAT IN­SPIRES YOU TO TRAVEL?

Hav­ing a dual Moroc­can-French cul­tural iden­tity and con­tribut­ing to the in­ter­cul­tural di­a­logue be­tween peo­ple around the world are what in­spires me the most.

IS THERE ANY­THING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY?

Travel as much as you can and as far as you can. It will make you a bet­ter per­son.

“TRAVEL AS MUCH AS YOU CAN AND AS FAR AS YOU CAN. IT WILL MAKE YOU A BET­TER PER­SON.”HAMZA EL ARABI

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