Saudi photographer makes it into National Geographic

Ammar al Amir‏ @ammar_alamir (twitter)
Updated 31 October 2017
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Saudi photographer makes it into National Geographic

JEDDAH: A rare Hajj photo taken by Ammar Alamir, a young photographer from Makkah, was featured in National Geographic Magazine.
The photo depicted pilgrims in Makkah circling the Holy Kaaba while carrying colorful sun umbrellas.
Alamir, who is passionate about capturing Makkah’s beauty and heritage, has a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Umm Al-Qura University and works as a TV director at the Saudi Broadcasting Corporation.
He is also a member of several international photography organizations, among which are the International Federation of Photographic Art, the Global Photographic Union, the Photographic Society of America, and the World of Photography Group, which is led by Najla Angawi.
“A photographer is a silent tourist guide,” Ammar said.
His passion for photography started in 2005 when he bought his first digital camera to document family trips and capture scenic travel photos. Then, some of his photographs won contests, leading him to sell a number of them and give others as gifts to different bodies and officials.
“I did not stick to one theme,” he said. “There are many themes, and an ambitious photographer will practice all fields of photography.”
“However, capturing photos of the most sacred spot on earth could be everyone’s favorite thing to do,” he added.
“The more you reflect and learn, the wider the circle of your vision gets before you capture the shot; the secret lies in the details.”
This is portrayed in what the Egyptian novelist Tawfik Al-Hakim said: “A great photo is easy for people and difficult for the photographer.”
Alamir’s photos often win during Saudi events. “One must always be ready and prepare good photos for these events,” he said, “My photography calendar must always be synced with dates of contests.”
“Saudi Arabia gives great attention to talents and provides them with platforms through which they can express themselves,” he said, then continued, “Creative photographers must know the rules of photography, light and shadow, and other secrets that contribute to capturing an amazing, successful photo.”
Speaking about how to deal with recurring occasions that reduce the chance of capturing something new, Alamir said: “Occasions will get repeated for sure, but the photo must be new. A photographer’s spirit must not be paralyzed by repletion but rather inspired to find a new innovative idea.”
He added: “Every place provides different scenes and inspires new ideas, and behind every spot is a story. Excuses should not be part of a photographer’s agenda; he must create roses from the desert and rain from clouds, and a photo will be born on its own.”
Alamir’s portfolio is full of photos taken in the holy places of Makkah, Jabal Al-Nour, Jabal Al-Thawr, Makkah’s old neighborhoods, archaeological sites in Makkah, the Cemetery of Ma’la (Jannat Al-Mu’alla), the factory stitching the Kaaba’s gold-laced cover, Souk Okaz, Makkah and Taif’s mosques, the historical markets of Jeddah and other places inside Saudi Arabia, which he plans on publishing in one book.
He might display these photos in exhibitions inside and outside the Kingdom, and he believes that one of the main obstacles he faces is travel for attending exhibitions abroad because the photographer is responsible for the majority of his expenses.
“We live in the days of the digital revolution and the time of photos,” he said.
“Of course, the new generation is aware of the importance of photography and are sensitive and critical enough of what they see. We can deliver messages through photos, and this is widely noticed among the Saudi youth.”
“Saudi photographers have made great self-efforts, and despite the lack of specialized photography clubs, many photographers have achieved global success and organized photography trips outside Saudi Arabia, especially in India and Africa.”


Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience. (SPA)
Updated 20 January 2019
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Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

  • Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government

JEDDAH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 3,024,272, of which 2,561,541 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry.
There are 399,479 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 277,372 in Makkah and 122,107 in Madinah.
Most pilgrims — 2,288,789 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 257,266 entered by land and 15,486 arrived by sea.
The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (681,392) followed by Indonesia (447,450), India (306,470), Yemen (146,067), Malaysia (142,290), Algeria (92,752), Turkey (86,925), Egypt (85,438), Bangladesh (53,131) and the UAE (62,927).
The weekly data also included the number of Saudi staff within Umrah companies and institutions. They are 9,983 Saudis including 8,259 males and 1,724 females.
Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government.
The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience.