MAKKAH: Local photographer Imad Al-Husseini felt an “indescribable happiness” when he was informed that his photographs had been chosen for the new redesigned Saudi passport.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Husseini said he received a certificate of gratitude from the public revenue agency at the Ministry of Finance for his images of the holy mosques in Makkah and Madinah.
“When the Ministry of Finance first asked me for some photos, they explained that there was a project to change the design of the Saudi passport and they wanted to use some of the photos I had taken of the two holy mosques in Makkah and Madinah. I immediately and without hesitation sent a lot of samples. They were not enough, as they needed a certain angle of the two holy mosques based on the designers’ request. So the pictures were taken specifically for this purpose and at the required angles.”
“I delivered the photos, and almost four years later, I was surprised by the release of the new passport with my photos inside. I cannot express my feelings in words, I felt an indescribable happiness. It is actually an unprecedented and great achievement for me. All of this is due to the great development we are witnessing, as the Ministry of Culture established the Visual Arts Authority … that did not exist before.”
Al-Husseini said that his passion for photography began at an early age, and developed in middle school.
“My story began when I pressed my father to buy me a new camera. His condition was for me to excel in my studies. As soon as I achieved the required result, the reward was a three-megapixel digital camera through which I saw the world and through which this passion developed. I became the school’s photographer for all its events, trips and visits. The more I practiced it, the more I fell in love with photography, to the point where I decided to work in this field,” he said.
He said Saudi photographers have the ability to become known worldwide and should continue to practice their art form. The key is to produce high quality images that tell a story, he said.
He believes photography can help bridge cultures. “What’s a better way to learn more about a country other than pictures? So many countries are paying huge sums to local and international photographers to visit and highlight their landmarks for the purpose of marketing tourism.”
He said budding young photographers should focus on taking good pictures rather than obsess about having the most sophisticated equipment. This attitude can become a career obstacle, he added.
Al-Husseini said he found YouTube the best free educational tool. The platform contains everything a beginner photographer needs. Enrolling in paid courses is required to gain more expertise, he said.
“Observing professional photographers and working with them will provide you a huge amount of experience, and I would recommend it even if it is free of charge, because in this field, knowledge is much more important than certificates,” he added.