It is more than just “capturing a moment” or being “a storyteller”. Photography is so much more than that. Today we are thrilled to interview Hussain Almoosawi who introduces himself as a infographist, typologist, cook and of course an avid photographer.
So Hussain, how did you get into photography?
I always liked to play with gadgets as a child but was more into video cameras. This was the case until I went to college in 1999 and received my first photography training using a manual SLR. It was later when I was in Australia that I developed my purpose as a photographer.
What phone/camera do you shoot with?
What do you love about them? For my projects I use Sony α7R III, which I love for the level of details and dynamic range. On the other hand I use Sony RX100V for traveling, it really offers a compact solution without compromising on image quality. With its f1.8 lens it comes very handy in lowlight and gives you a great control over depth of field. I also use my iPhone 7 in raw mode.
What inspires you to shoot?
I must say it's the street. I love reading, checking out exhibitions and visiting museums but I do that for an educational purpose. Nothing gets me more inspired than walking along a street that I've never walked before. It makes me full of anticipation for what I will see next. I always tell people the street is my open-air gallery.
How do you choose your subject?
It just happens as I experience things. If a particular subject doesn't leave my head then I decide to do something about it. The catch is for me to strongly feel about something I have to expose myself to it regularly. For example, before starting my current series on symmetry I was photographing buildings for a different purpose. I was consciously observing buildings and their symmetry for almost a year before deciding to do something about it. I simply couldn't take the idea out of my head. Putting the idea into an action at that point becomes a necessity rather than a choice, as remaining idle will drive my daily life into a creative nightmare. Back to the question, I don't choose the subject by browsing for inspiration on my iMac or going through Instagram – I have to put myself out there in street and expose myself to raw ideas.
What genre of photography excites you?
It's photojournalism I must say. Even if you take a subject like weddings for example I enjoy those photographs taken in a documentary style. I also love environmental portraits that tell a story about the person through the surroundings. Perhaps part of the excitement about what I've just mentioned is it's being the opposite to what I currently do with my photography. Photojournalism generally involves people and is typically achieved using a wide angle lens – I take closeups of buildings using a telephoto.
What sort of project drives your creativity? What is your dream project?
What drives my projects is the element of discovery and/or originality. A great deal of energy is generated when I work on something that hasn't been done before, or at least no one is executing it my way. I'm currently living my dream project with Architectural Symmetry, which is really part of a bigger project of documenting facades in the UAE. It's the reason why I wake up everyday.
What is the hardest thing about photography?
With my genre it's dealing with natural light. To photograph a building you first have to inspect the location to know what side the building is facing, which will dictate whether I'll photograph it after sunrise or before sunset. Some buildings are in tight areas surrounded by other buildings that cast shadows over them, in this case I have to find the perfect moment of even light across the entire building. Not to mention the amount of haze during summer. It makes long-range closeup photography almost impossible. I had to reshoot many buildings because of that. If you're doing portrait photography outdoors you can always get creative with artificial light. Even cityscape photography can benefit from changing weather conditions. In my case I need good natural light to show buildings the way they are.
What advice would you give to a photographer just starting out?
It's difficult to give a generic advice as photography is a very broad practice nowadays, but if anything I would say remember the camera is only a tool. It's you the photographer who adds value to the tool, not the way around.
What are your thoughts on Ryokō? Do you have any advice or feedback for us?
I've experienced love from the sight with your watches when I saw them displayed at Market Outside the Box. I immediately got one for myself and my wife. I usually plan my purchases but it requires a unique piece for to be sold on the spot. It's the combination of leather and wood that makes the magic, making it smart-looking without looking too formal. After that I was introduced to the rest of your product line, with the hand straps and portfolio sleeve being favorites. I'm also a big fan of your branding. If anything I'd want to see the love spread over a wider range of products.
What’s your idea of a perfect camera bag?
Practical for camera gear while being stylish without appearing like a camera bag.
Can you please send us a link of your social media presence so we can showcase to our Journal readers (Instagram, website, blog etc)?