Photography is one of the best ways to tell a story and save a memory forever. It is an art that requires unrelenting passion to master it. With sophisticated technologies, interest in photography has increased but people often do not follow proper guidelines for better images.
Good photographers tend to master one particular genre of photography. As artists, they are convinced that they need to pursue one genre and excel at it with endless learning and hard work. City scape photography is a kind of art that needs to be learnt, practised and mastered. It is different and time-consuming.
Ibrar Ahmed, a Pakistani expatriate, is a keen and searching city scape photographer. He aims at capturing the skylines of the cities he lives in or visits. His desire is to show people how tall buildings look when seen standing on the top of a high rise. The shutterbug has profound admiration for the Doha skyline and is in the process of bringing out a photobook to highlight the skyscrapers.
“By profession, I am a biomedical engineer. I work on genetics. I have engineering experience of 11 years, and been working in Qatar for five years. I have obtained engineering degree from Mehran University of Engineering & Technology, Jamshoro,” said Ibrar, who hails from Umerkot district of Sindh, by way of introduction to Community.
The photographer has to travel a lot owing to the nature of job with his company. At the same time, he has been learning how to improve his photo skills. “I have travelled and covered some 60 percent of Pakistan. Since I am in Qatar, I have been going to different places and shooting images of my interest.
“I started taking photos when I was in school carrying a reel camera. I used to capture portraits and landscapes. I also used point-and-shoot cameras. However, I started taking my photography interest seriously some three to four years ago. It is very easy to take a photo but as an artist you have to create an image. Camera works as a device only. We have to use the device to grab the best picture.”
Ibrar is a self-taught photographer. Though he has attended workshops arranged by some adept photographers, he has mainly improved his skill while watching YouTube tutorials. “I have attended workshops done by Atif Saeed, a celebrated photographer in Pakistan. Also in Qatar, I have taken part in different photography workshops to improve as a photo artist.
“Although the community of serious photographers is not very large yet if you approach any of them, they respond to your request. They support you. I used to share my photos with big names even outside Qatar to improve. The learning process however, goes on every day. I think if one wants to do something seriously, one needs to do it with knowledge and learning.”
The biochemical engineer has also been selling his photos to support different charity causes. “After I improved as a photographer, I started having prints of my photos. I sell the images to generate funds for charity. I do not sell limited photos. I sell multiple copies of one photo after having a contract with the collectors or buyers. I share the specifications of a photo with the buyers. I can sell one photo many times.
“I started selling my photos for charity after I collaborated with an organisation for an exhibition that was meant for charity purposes. I along with other photographers paid for the prints and easels for the photos.”
Ibrar appreciates Qatar for the kind of support he received here to excel in the art. “I got tremendous support from different organisations here. There are many community photography organisations that hold various workshops on the art free of cost. In the last five years, I have improved a lot as a photographer.”
The city scape photographer takes photography as an art. He pursues the art to have mental satisfaction as well. “Though I take it as a skill that I want to master, I use photography to have some sort of distraction from my routine life. When you are on the rooftop of a building, you concentrate on different views and angles that help you get relaxed mentally. You simply focus on the view and the photos. You think of nothing other than the photo. You may say it is a kind of mental therapy.”
Ibrar views the constantly changing techniques and technologies related to photography as something very encouraging. “There is a change every day. Since the launch of smartphone cameras, the art of photography has grown manifold. You also have to learn new trends and technologies. Earlier we were not much aware of certain things related to photography such as angles. Now, with user-friendly technology we can concentrate more on other things such as light, view, frame and angles.
“With the launch of smartphones, everyone has become a photographer. However, not everyone has a real sense of the art. You can develop the sense if you correctly understand a photo. I think the smartphone cameras have deteriorated the quality of photography to some extent. When people used reel cameras, they were more particular in grabbing a moment. Nowadays, people take 100 photos and select just one and delete the rest. Smartphone image can only be used for social media. Professionally captured photos last long and can stay forever on your walls.”
Speaking about the response of general public towards the photography, the engineer said: “Appreciation is very much there. If there is something unique or strange for people, they will definitely take interest in it. People often see city scape from far off or from the streets. When they see it from above, they take interest in the photos. They do appreciate such images.
“For photography, light plays a very important role. We need to have right understanding of light. The second most important thing is composition. If you do not place or compose things properly, you will not have a good photo. For city scape photos, you need to have better tripods because the wind is often strong on the high rise buildings.”
Despite being a city scape photographer, Ibrar appreciates street photography. “I like street photos. Things and actions take place in streets just for a moment. You may not be able to grab the moment again. As far city scape, you can wait and retake the photos of certain angles.
“I however, love to shoot the city scapes of all places wherever I go. I want to have big collection of world city scape.”
As far his future plans, Ibrar is preparing to bring out the first ever photo book on Qatar’s skyscrapers. “I have completed the required content. I think this is going to be the first book on the subject. People need to have a book of the skyline.”
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