19,000 British nationals to perform Haj 2016

FULL CONSULAR SUPPORT: Members of the British Haj Mission, including Rashid Mogradia, 3rd left and Ayaz Zuberi, 5th left, with British Consul General Barrie Peach in Jeddah on Thursday. (AN photo)
Updated 10 September 2016

19,000 British nationals to perform Haj 2016

JEDDAH: Approximately 19,000 British pilgrims are in the Kingdom to perform Haj this year.
The pilgrims have come through 94 UK-based Haj operators which are licensed by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Haj and Umrah.
The British Haj Mission met with British Consul General Barrie Peach in Jeddah on Thursday and discussed support available to British nationals during Haj.
The mission is being led by the Islamic Cultural Center (ICC) with volunteers from the Council of British Hajis (CBHUK) and the British Haj Medical Team.
Saudi Ambassador to the UK Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf is a trustee of the ICC in London.
Ayaz Zuberi, who is leading the mission, said: “We are fortunate to have the prince’s support.”
On behalf of ICC Director General Dr. Ahmad Al-Dubayan, Zuberi extended warmest regards to the British consul general and reaffirmed the commitment to serve and support British pilgrims during Haj.
“We continue to work closely with the Saudi Embassy in London and it is very important that we strengthen our relationship with the British Consulate in Jeddah and partners to ensure the highest standard of service for British pilgrims,” said Zuberi.
Consul General Barrie Peach promised full support to the pilgrims.
“We will be providing consular assistance and advice as necessary to British pilgrims,” he said. “Consular staff can be contacted on a 24-hour helpline (+966-501-004268) in case of emergency.”
Rashid Mogradia, CEO of CBHUK, who is also performing Haj, said: “We are honored to be on the ground to support British pilgrims during Haj this year. We have been working actively to ensure pilgrims were briefed prior to departure on any health and safety risks and they have been told that the British Consulate is at the their service and is here to serve them.”
Dr. Mohammed Jiva from the British Haj Medical Team said British doctors would be available during Haj to treat pilgrims. “Having British doctors on hand, who are familiar with the NHS system in the UK, will make follow-up easier for the pilgrims on their return,” he said.
The British Haj Mission will operate until Sept. 19.


Snap happy: Every face tells a story for Saudi photographer

Updated 20 February 2020

Snap happy: Every face tells a story for Saudi photographer

  • “There is something majestic about people’s faces, their expressions,” says Abdullah Al-Joghiman

DHAHRAN: Saudi portrait photographer Abdullah Al-Joghiman has a message for everybody: You are beautiful just the way you are.

If you don’t believe him, let him take your picture.

“Even if you’re not photogenic, or think you look bad in pictures, I can always turn your frown upside down,” he said.

Al-Joghiman is a full-time financial analyst for the Saudi Electricity Co., but allows plenty of time for his work as a freelance portrait and event photographer on the side.

“I started off doing landscape photography, but I love portrait photography more. Landscape photographers have to travel a lot, and I wasn’t able to commit to that lifestyle for many reasons. But since I was a child I’ve always loved taking pictures of people. There is something majestic about people’s faces, their expressions,” he told Arab News.

The 34-year-old was born in Al-Hofuf and now lives in Dammam, but his passion for photography has taken him all over the Kingdom and to other areas of the world.

Al-Joghiman at the 2018 Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai. (Supplied)

Al-Joghiman has been asked to shoot for local events such as Gamers’ Con and internationally at conventions in Kuwait, Singapore and the UAE. In 2019, he was commissioned to photograph the World Cosplay Summit in Japan, traveling with a Saudi team competing at the event for the first time.

“It was amazing, I met people from around 20 countries who came to take part,” he said. “It was a great experience.”

Completely self-taught, Al-Joghiman caught the photography bug at college and has been training himself ever since. “I’ve been dabbling in photography since high school, but I started taking it more seriously in college. I’ve been shooting professionally since 2012 or 2013,” he said.

Al-Joghiman started off humbly, with a camera-centric smartphone, but has since expanded his collection significantly, and now shoots with a variety of high-tech cameras from Sony. Now he is attracting interest from both local and international sponsors, especially in the gaming and cosplay areas.

“Cosplayers are kind of difficult to shoot because they can be perfectionists, but I love seeing the joy on their faces when they see the final pictures. That makes it worthwhile,” he said.

Al-Joghiman is happy that social restrictions on photography in Saudi Arabia are easing, allowing him to find more opportunities to do the work he loves.

“It’s difficult to take pictures of people here, especially strangers, but I can’t really blame them, considering that they are not really used to that in our culture. But things are changing and it’s much easier to be a photographer in Saudi Arabia now,” he said.

HIGHLIGHT

Abdullah Al-Joghiman has been asked to shoot for local events such as Gamers’ Con and internationally at conventions in Kuwait, Singapore and the UAE. In 2019, he was commissioned to photograph the World Cosplay Summit in Japan, traveling with a Saudi team competing at the event for the first time.

He is grateful for the Ministry of Culture’s efforts to revive the Kingdom’s art scene, and has long hoped that photography will become more regulated in the country.

“The market for photography and videography really needs to be regulated. It’s hard enough putting a price on one’s work without scoping out the competition and finding that someone else is charging thousands for just a headshot when I’m doing shoots for two or three hundred,” he said.

“I love my work, and I’d love to be able to do it for free, but at the end of the day I still need to eat,” he said.

Al-Joghiman doesn’t want to limit anyone else’s opportunities but simply wants the playing field evened out a little.

“As a photographer, I just want a fair chance for everyone. More importantly, a client should know exactly what they are paying for,” he said.

His advice to young Saudis looking to become photographers is this: “If you pursue photography, don’t worry. Just do what you love, and if people tell you that they don’t look good in pictures, convince them by taking a picture of them.”

AlJoghiman’s work can be found on Instagram and Twitter (@finalecco), and on his website, https://www.eccofantasyph.com