Pho­tog­ra­phy

Samer Rawadi: Let the Light Shine Through

ArabAd - - CONTENTS CONTENTS -

Samer Rawadi, is a man in love. How­ever, the ob­ject of his af­fec­tion is the de­sire to bring out the best in peo­ple and things us­ing a cam­era. Though he never for­mally stud­ied to be­come a skilled pho­tog­ra­pher, the pro­fes­sion has al­ways held an un­de­ni­ably al­lur­ing pas­sion. As des­tiny would have it, he was for­tu­nate to have had the chance to break into the field as an as­sis­tant for one of the renowned fash­ion pho­tog­ra­phers in town called Jihad Ho­jeily. That op­por­tu­nity drove him to labour harder than he has ever had and three years on, he found him­self work­ing with in­ter­na­tional de­sign­ers and mod­els while shoot­ing in Paris for well es­tab­lished agen­cies. What fol­lows is his story.

What’s the best part of be­ing a pho­tog­ra­pher? It is not about what you are see­ing in the viewfinder; it is more about cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion. It’s about the me­nas of bring­ing out a piece of art that touches emo­tions by get­ting peo­ple to stop and re­flect on the pic­ture. It is the story that you try to con­vey with a sin­gle im­age. What is the hard­est part of your job? I would have to say it’s about al­ways be­ing up to date and bring­ing new ideas to my clients. It is about chal­leng­ing the day to day norms and main­tain­ing a cer­tain level of cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion while work­ing long hours, seven days a week. Yet de­spite all this, I love it. If not a pho­tog­ra­pher who you would have been? Prob­a­bly an en­tre­pre­neur run­ning his own pri­vate busi­ness, which is not far from what I do to­day.

Which pho­tog­ra­phers in­spired you most and how did they in­flu­ence your think­ing? What in­spires me most is the work and the peo­ple be­hind it. I make it a point to fol­lowup on the lat­est cre­ations of fa­mous and in­ter­na­tional pho­tog­ra­phers, which mo­ti­vates, in­spires and en­cour­ages me. As for my per­sonal/in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic style, I would have to say that it is a work in progress. I had to ex­per­i­ment and dab­ble a lot to get to where I am now. At the be­gin­ning, I couldn’t eas­ily de­ter­mine my own style, but af­ter many tri­als, er­rors and count­less ef­forts, I dis­cov­ered the style that I love most.

How do you ed­u­cate your­self to take bet­ter pic­tures? Re­lent­less learn­ing. I never stop search­ing and ex­plor­ing new meth­ods and ideas. It is an end­less ex­pe­ri­ence.

Do you use dig­i­tal cam­eras and if so, what is the in­flu­ence on your pho­to­graphs? Dig­i­tal and tech­nol­ogy fa­cil­i­tate our work to a cer­tain ex­tent but they will never re­place our imag­i­na­tion and our pur­suit for ex­cel­lence. In other words, if you know the tech­nique well, you will be able to get the best out of the de­vice you have in hand. If not, you will end up fac­ing cer­tain lim­i­ta­tions. How­ever, dig­i­tal cam­eras have def­i­nitely in­tro­duced plenty of ad­van­tages to the in­dus­try. They trans­formed it by mak­ing it faster, eas­ier and more qual­i­ta­tive. Nonethe­less, I do be­lieve that sea­soned pho­tog­ra­phers still share cer­tain emo­tions to­wards old cam­eras. Per­son­ally, I love work­ing with old film cam­eras; the feel­ing is amaz­ing and the re­sults are timeless. Case in point are some of the pic­tures fea­tured in this ar­ti­cle, which were shot on film.

…you al­ways have to work with peo­ple who un­der­stand your style or else the project may not be up to ex­pec­ta­tion.

What kind of mode do you go into when pho­tograph­ing a con­cept or idea? What is re­ally im­por­tant is hav­ing a good process in place, from tak­ing the brief all the way to ex­e­cut­ing the work. That in­volves, brain­storm­ing, vi­su­al­i­sa­tion, mood boards, ex­e­cu­tion plans, lo­ca­tions, mod­els, styling, make up, hair, light­ing… It is a long process and if you start it right and main­tain fo­cused at ev­ery step, you will def­i­nitely get the best re­sults. Another key to a great out­come is the chem­istry that builds-up be­tween my­self and the cre­ative team, which cre­ates a vibe and a com­mon plat­form that we can build on.

Can you tell us about the true ba­sis of your in­spi­ra­tion? It all starts from a thor­ough brief, our un­der­stand­ing of the client’s busi­ness and what we are try­ing to com­mu­ni­cate about the brands. When you have the right in­gre­di­ents, it be­comes easy to get in­spired and move in the right di­rec­tion. Such an ap­proach en­ables me to be fo­cused when de­liv­er­ing out­stand­ing work.

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