Interviews

Ahmad Sendy – Photographer

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When we think about the beauty the countryside and its the seasonal changes, a talented photographer comes to mind, one who specializes in this branch of photography. Ahmad Sendy.

Ahmad inspired us with his words when he said, “Do not fall victim to procrastination, keep striving in whatever it is you’re working on, even if you fail from the very first time, keep trying, keep learning until you find yourself right where you wanted to be, living the role of a successful individual whose work shines bright, and who people won’t stop talking about.

I still haven’t achieved even a quarter of what I dream about, but I know, if Allah is willing, as long as I have faith in myself and do the work, I will get there.”

Tell us, how did you get into photography?

Back in second year of college, my classmates couldn’t find a photographer for an event because of limited budgeting. They saw on Facebook at that time which was back in 2012, that I was always taking pictures during my travels with a DSLR camera. So they asked me to film a video that would be presented during the event.

Fortunately, with what was possible then, using the tech that we had, we were able to come up with a good video. After that, other students from different majors and colleges started to ask for me by name for different photography or video projects.

I remember thinking then, that I have this talent and it could be a source of income had I wanted it to be, but I wasn’t too confident in that idea, so I decided to focus on my studies and finish college first then I can decide what to do about photography and film-making.

Unfortunately though, I got completely swamped with course work and time was very limited. So much so, that when I picked up my camera next, it was a dusty contraption that brought me shame. And that was one of the worst feelings I went through as an individual who was passionate about photography.

In 2018, two years after I graduated and was working in the pharmaceutical industry, I decided to give photography another go.

Since it’s been a while, I watched a couple of Youtube videos of famous photographers and what they do behind the scenes and how they work the camera and suffice it to say I learned quite a bit.

After that I was encouraged to apply what I learned and I thought to myself, “Why not upload a couple of my photographs on Instagram, I’ve got nothing to lose. Maybe someone will appreciate my work, maybe I’ll start to get gigs.”

So I collected a couple of photographs that I took that represented who I am as an artist, meaning the pictures included a lot of food photography that came from my style of decor and composition.

A bit of time passed by and I got a lot of good comments on my photos from friends, co workers and family members. But I have yet to receive any work opportunities or gigs. And thats when I decided that if I want that opportunity, I won’t wait for someone to contact me any more or for a friend to open a restaurant and ask me to step in and help out. Even then, maybe that friend is just doing me a favor!

I’m gonna take matters into my own hands.

One of my favorite food photographers at the time was Chef Raneen, since she has a keen eye for detail and chooses excellent dishes for photography.

I contacted her about a collaboration and she liked my work! We ended up working on a video that was really special.

I owe a lot of gratitude to so many people who were with me during my early stages of photography and film-making, but if I were to pinpoint one person or one project that I’m most grateful for, it would be Raneen’s collaboration.

Our collaboration catapulted my freelancing career in photography and film-making and I’ve been getting offers non-stop ever since.

What challenges did you face in the beginning?

In my case the most challenging issue was balancing my full-time 9 hour job and my one day weekend.

Being a full-time pharmacist and a freelance photographer at the same time, how were you able to balance both jobs?

I’d be lying if I told you it was easy, but at the same time, nothing is impossible. In the start, it was difficult to manage both jobs because I had responsibilities from both ends. My days would start at 8:00 am and I‘d spend my first hours working on photography projects till four in the afternoon. Then I would get dressed for work and start my shift at 5:00 pm till 2:00 am and I didn’t mind it, because if a person is passionate about something, then she/he will work hard at it. Even during my breaks, I happily would grab a cup of coffee and work on editing my pictures.

One of the main issues any freelancer faces in the beginning of their career, is their limited finance. How were you able to work around that?

Like I mentioned before, freelancing is my main source of income, and so from my point of view, constantly coming up with good quality content is the most important thing for me. Because at the end of the day you are marketing yourself and that will bring in more projects and hence more money.

We’ve noticed that you don’t just work on food photography, but you dabble in portraits, and product photography as well. What do you enjoy working on more?

In the beginning my goal was to work on food photography and help create menus for restaurants. Then shortly after, I found myself doing portraits and other types of photography, which I didn’t mind doing!

The details in your photos are in our opinion truly your best features. Do you have someone who helps you with that or are you responsible for how you compose your photos? And if it is you, where do you get your inspirations from?

That’s actually my favorite comment besides, “Are you sure we have that in Jeddah?” Because that means my hard work and attention to detail is appreciated.

I’m naturally gravitated towards the smaller details, for example whenever I watch a movie, it’s easy for me to get distracted by the set props and cinematography, and not focus on the actual events of the film.

I’m a visual person so I feed off of anything that attracts my attention. Even when I’m outside shopping, I enjoy collecting special pieces that know I can play around with and make interesting compositions with because at the end of the day it’s all about storytelling.

From all of your projects, which one holds a special place in your heart?​

My favorite projects would be the seasonal ones, especially autumn and winter photoshoots. Whenever I hand in my work to the clients, and they find themselves immersed in the photos as if they’re real, it’s an amazing feeling.

How can an amateur photographer become special?

It’s important to have your own style, some photographs are easily identifiable before you read the photographer’s name and that’s a good thing. That doesn’t mean however, that you keep taking the same type of photographs over and over. It just means that your photography as a collective has a certain personality, this could mean that your photos have their own blend of colors, lighting, editing, etc.

What advice would you give to aspiring freelance photographers?

 

 Keep in mind that people will start contacting you for your work because of your creativity. So it’s important to work on something that’s for you at least once or twice a month, to remove yourself from client work so that you could have that flexibility of being as creative as you want.

Because most of the time, client work will have it’s own creative restrictions that’s based on their company or the idea of the project.

Don’t lose yourself in commission work. Always think about yourself as a photographer and work on projects that move and inspire you, so that your page will always reflect your passion and creativity.

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