News, documentary photography, portraits, and daily life stories.
When I was about eight years old, my parents gifted me a point and shoot camera to document my first ever school trip. At that time, I thought I had so much power, being able to immortalise the best moments in my life, and this feeling never seemed to end – and it never will. I remember I panicked when the film finished and I couldn’t take any more images.
I had the opportunity to learn from some great mentors before coming to the UK and earning a BA in Photography at the University of Portsmouth, and later receiving a scholarship for a MA at the University of Westminster where I studied Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. Despite everything I learned in class, I still believe practice is key in becoming a better photographer.
For me, photography has been a fantastic way to grow up faster and get to know myself; to learn about the world, to understand human beings and to learn about myself.
I cannot envision my photos without a human element in them. In my eyes, an image has no soul without the human emotion and energy. Photographing people gives me so much energy. I am not very extroverted in my day-to-day life, but when I have my camera all restrictions fall. To me, there is nothing more beautiful in this world than showing people’s emotions by telling their story through an image.
I believe the best photographer is the one who transforms an intense moment into a still image. There is no sound, no movement, no smell, nothing. Just stillness. Giving life to this stillness is what makes a great photographer and what keeps me going.
During my work experience at the Guardian newspaper, the photo editor asked me if I could take a portrait in 10 minutes. I instantly said yes, not knowing whom I had to photograph. It turned out to be Sarah Brown, the wife of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who nicely offered me an extra five minutes of time to nail the lighting. When I am being challenged, that person can bring the best out of me and this is how I push myself to achieve more.
Photographing the refugees in Calais has been heartbreaking on many occasions, especially documenting the unaccompanied children that arrived there. Last time I went with a journalist to cover the story of Jan Agha, whose cousin Abdullah Dilsouz had been killed a month earlier. It was heartbreaking to see him back in that place, recounting this painful memory.
The stories that excite me the most are the unpredictable stories that challenge me and teach me more about the world around me. It is very exciting to go into the unknown without knowing what to expect next.
Photojournalism is important because it gives us the opportunity to tell stories with depth and complete honesty. I always hope the story will reach as many people as possible.
Always put yourself in the shoes of the person you are photographing, understand them and be sensible about your approach.
With passion and sweat anything is possible. It is very important to be open-minded when it comes to new experiences. Never say no and embrace new challenges – this is the best way to learn.