Patience pays in photography, says award-winning Omani

Energy Sunday 17/September/2017 20:59 PM
By: Times News Service
Patience pays in photography, says award-winning Omani

Muscat: “The biggest lesson I have learned through pursuing photography has been the value of patience,” was what Haitham Al Farsi had to say by way of offering advice to others, who wanted to follow their passions.
In pictures: Haitham Al Farsi captures human emotion with ease
With human emotions the subject of many of his photos, Al Farsi’s stunning, high-quality images have seen him win a plethora of awards, from organisations and events, such as the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP), the Arctic Exhibition, the Photographic Society of America, the Lofoten Exhibition and the Tallaght International Salon of Photographic Art.
One of his latest pictures—that of an elderly Omani man setting off a hand cannon at a wedding fete—also made it into the National Geographic magazine.
“This is a special, traditional Omani hand cannon that is allowed to be fired only by the elders in the village,” recalled Al Farsi, speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman.
“These hand cannons are only found in the mountain villages of the Sharqiyah region. They don’t contain any bullets, it’s just gunpowder that is fired through the barrel. If you stay at ground level, you will not find these because it is part of the culture of the villagers in the mountains.
“I have been to that village on seven occasions, but never did I get as perfect an opportunity to capture this photo the way I did this time,” he added.
Perfect picture
“The road to the villages is not proper and it is a dangerous drive to the mountains, and previously, the smoke would cover the man’s face or would make the photo blurry, but I finally had the chance to take the perfect picture.”
“National Geographic magazine sent me an e-mail to ask me if they could use this photo on their website, and I immediately said yes,” explained Al Farsi. “I was very happy to see my photo on their website and it showed me the progress I had made since I began photography in 2013.”
The art of taking a good photo, it would seem, runs in Al Farsi’s family: his father was a photographer himself, and it was he who inspired him to take up the camera. “I try to specialise in human activities and capturing human emotions because photography is all about conveying a message and meaning to people,” he said.
“Take the picture of this old man with the cannon for example: he is old and his face is wrinkled, but he does not need any support to fire this cannon or is not bent over.”
“He is standing straight and has a lot of pride on his face and in his body,” added Al Farsi. “In many ways, he shows the strength of the mountains, and he is the mountain itself.”
What enables him to take such incredible images is Al Farsi’s willingness to not engage with people as a photographer, but as a person.
“When you ask someone to pose for a photograph, they will just look at you a certain way and then smile for the camera,” revealed Al Farsi.
“That is not real, though, there is no feeling there. But if you talk to them and ask them about their work, then they will open up to you and you can connect with them on a human level.”
“Then, you can photograph them doing what they do naturally, because you can connect with them and there is stronger trust between the two of you.”