JEDDAH: Lina Mo has become a rising Saudi star by combining fashion photography and experimentation with the surrounding elements.
“I’m inspired by many things that surround me, grab my attention, and in no time I find something and twist it, reshape it and make it my own while staying away from copying previous works by other photographers,” she said.
“I’m making my mark in the photography world, my way.”
Born and raised in Jeddah, Mo had a love of photography from a young age but told Arab News that she had a difficult start before the introduction of DSLR cameras.
“I used to always worry about film and developing it but in 2010 I received my first DSLR and that is when I started experimenting and learned photography as a hobby. It wasn’t until 6 years later in 2016 when I started taking it seriously, learning by reading books and watching YouTube videos.”
Mo has set herself up as a rising photographer who not only thinks outside the box but finds beauty in the subject she is photographing.
She does not like limiting herself to a certain style but tries to work with whatever comes to her creatively, drawing new inspiration from different things.
Mo said her learning experience was challenging, however she found it easy to shoot using the outdoors as her playground. “It wasn’t very difficult for me to shoot outside. I hear a lot of people say that it is difficult to shoot outside but that wasn’t the case for me; I suppose I got lucky as you have a lot to work with in a vast space.”
I haven’t achieved my biggest achievement yet and there are a lot of things in my mind that I want to do and pursue.
She said that she does most of her shoots for fun, so much so that most of the times her friends are the ones modeling in her photos.
“I usually test on my friends and they are usually my models, and one of those experiments was featured in the Riyadh Season to represent Riyadh City, and we were just having fun.”
Mo also worked on the “Under the Abaya” book that showcased Saudi women in their “street clothes” — the photographer was able to show the beauty of the women wearing the simple garment as a reflection of their personalities.
The photographer said that it was her favorite achievement. “Being a part of the international project ‘Under the Abaya’ was very important to me. It was fun, it was different and meeting all these women was the best part of the whole project. You get to meet colorful people and each one is a personality that wildly differs from the next, a reflection of how our community is, cultured, traditional in a sense and at the same time varied.”
“The fact that it is nonprofit, international and not just local — and the best thing about it is that it is about women in Saudi Arabia and shows how we really are — made this my favorite achievement so far,” she said.
It is difficult to pin down a photographer who is so constantly on the move. The COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on many, but with such creativity it was hard to keep the photographer from pursuing innovative projects.
While under lockdown, she was able to organize a shoot with a colleague in the US via Zoom, and though it took some planning they were able come up with a photoshoot that delivered the results they both wanted.
“I haven’t achieved my biggest achievement yet and there are a lot of things in my mind that I want to do and pursue,” she said.
Mo said that photographers would face their own difficulties in the future. However, they should not give up but continue to do what they love, and with determination they could achieve what they wanted.