‘Msyan Doha’, the magical images of Qatar on nightfall
November 04 2016 09:01 PM
Qatar-based professional photographer Mohamed al-Hasel al-Yafei
Qatar-based professional photographer Mohamed al-Hasel al-Yafei with three of his photographs currently on exhibit at Katara's Building 18. PICTURE: Peter Alagos

The first camera that professional photographer Mohamed al-Hasel al-Yafei used in 1986 was a Yashica. After exposing thousands of rolls of film and owning around 10 other cameras, including a Hasselblad, and more recently, the latest Nikon DSLRs, the long-time Doha resident is showcasing more than 60 of his works in an exhibition entitled ‘Msyan Doha’ in Building 18 of Katara The Cultural Village.
The pictures are from his three decades of taking snapshots of a wide range of subjects – from people to horses, and desert fauna to colourful cityscapes.
The photographic exhibition forms part of Katara’s “keenness […] at embracing diverse art that will add value to the local artistic scene,” according to Katara general manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti.
The exhibition, inaugurated by al-Sulaiti on November 2, will run until November 17 from 10am to 10pm. It is open to the public for free.
According to al-Yafei, the exhibition is a photographic collection of Qatar’s landscapes taken just before dark. “Night photography is a difficult, yet very challenging genre,” he told Gulf Times.
After selecting a suitable vantage point, al-Yafei said he would wait patiently for sunset to take the perfect shot hence the theme ‘Msyan Doha’. Al-Yafei further explained that once nightfall sets in, he only has a few minutes to compose and take pictures of his subjects.
A handful of the images featured at the exhibit includes before and after photographs of Doha’s cityscapes taken almost two decades apart, giving viewers a historical glimpse of Doha’s urban transformation.
More photographs of Doha’s scenic landscapes are available in al-Yafei’s book entitled ‘Msyan Doha’ and features almost 200 pages of nighttime Doha.
“After years of photography, this book finally came to light […] It is an unprecedented idea to issue such a photography book dedicated to Qatar’s evening time, Msyan. I have relied on the proverb ‘A picture paints a thousand words’, as it became the official language for the visual media by all its means,” al-Yafei, in his book, said.
Al-Yafei, a founding member of the Qatar Photographic Society, is also affiliated with the International Federation of Photographic Art, Photographic Society of America, Nikon Japan Club, and Qatar Scientific Club.
He is also a recipient of many Arab and international awards, and gold medals, including five gold medals in the Austria International Competition and six gold medals in the Al Thani International Competition.
His first personal photo exhibit was held in 2002, while the second one, dubbed as “the first of its kind in the world,” was held in 2014 featuring plants mentioned in the Holy Quran and Hadith. The third exhibit, ‘Messiaen Doha’, was held in 2015.
Al-Yafei said he is currently working on another book, which is a collection of flowers and trees that were taken in the desert since 2000.
“I have collected a photographic series of budding desert flowers and trees, which I have taken on a regular basis. They show the growth of these plants over a period of several years,” he said.

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