Johara Abdullah AlSudairi is an 18-year-old photographer who is looking to make movies in the future. Studying at the school of Designs in Dar Al-Hekma College (DAH) in Jeddah, she showcased her work in DAH’s famous Room Number 5 exhibition along with other students who featured their work in Graphic Design, Interior Design, Photography, Fine Art and Fashion Design.
AlSudairi aims to be one of the best photographers and filmmakers in the Middle East and aims to achieve that by doing her master’s in photography and filmmaking.
“I just want to document every moment, whether it’s good or bad. I also want to film them and get my thoughts and points of view out there for people to see. I believe that photography is a powerful art and the strongest of its kind, as it give more than just a beautiful piece. It can actually tell a story by bringing back a lost memory,” she said.
AlSudairi looks up to Dave Hill, a famous American commercial photographer. “I cannot define his technique but whatever he is doing, it’s working. I always follow up his work and try to figure out what makes him special and how he is mastering his camera so I can be like him.”
Her first camera was a children’s camera with cartoons on it. “I remember I used to run around with it trying to take random photos, which at the end, looked horrible. However, at the age of 16, my mom bought me my first Sony Alpha camera. It was then that I started taking photography seriously. I then realized that I didn’t know what to do with it, so I bought books and searched the Internet for free lessons that could help me master this new amazing camera. I believe it worked because after a while, it became an easy task for me,” she added.
In fact, she has been using her Sony Alpha camera ever since, claiming that she tried other models but only felt comfortable using this one. “I tried Canon and Nikon, but I couldn’t feel it with them. But, with my Alpha, I feel powerful and capable of taking the pictures I actually liked,” said AlSudairi. “I use different lenses with my camera, and according to what I’m shooting, I also use different methods and effects.”
As for programs, she uses Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom to retouch her photos and make them perfect. “I like using them simply to touch up my photos and make them look sharp. However, I never overdo it because the last thing you want is for your pictures to look fake,” she explained.
The young photographer is attracted to portrait photography, claiming that it’s the most effective kind. “I tend to take people’s photo aiming to put a story to it. I want the person looking at the photo to figure out his/her own version of the story behind it,” said AlSudairi. “You can always find me aiming my camera at people who are not looking right at me, because it makes people wonder what’s on the person’s mind. I just love to make people think and rethink about my vision and what did I see when I shot it.”
The adventurous photographer prefers shooting outdoors as she depends on natural lighting claiming it give the picture a better effect. “I love just going around with my camera and taking snap shots of people and places. I sometimes take special trips to downtown Jeddah and the fish market just to take pictures,” she said.
However, most people, especially here in the Kingdom, are uncomfortable around camera, but AlSudairi works her way around that. “People always give me the nasty look, but I just ignore them and act like a tourist,” she said. “I was yelled at and kicked out of the market by angry locals for taking their photos, but that did not stop me. I just took a photo of the guy who was yelling at me and it was amazing,” she said.
AlSudairi wishes to take more photography trips inside and outside the Kingdom. “Lucky for me, my college offers international photography trips where you dedicate your time to take photos. I sometimes just want to take my passport and head anywhere with nobody but my camera, because when I’m traveling with family, I’m just too busy having fun and hanging out with them,” she said.
She is more interested in street photography rather than indoor photo shoots. “I do take indoor shots for friends, but it’s just not my favorite thing. I don’t like to be trapped between four walls to take pictures. I would rather go around and take pictures of people who are not posing, but rather are not expecting it, so that it looks more real,” she explained.
AlSudairi’s father is her role model and it’s because of him that she is persistent and a perfectionist. “I’m so hard on myself, as I always tell myself that I can produce better pictures. I believe that I took this habit from my dad who is also a perfectionist, a very hard worker and work committed,” she explained.
“When I do something, I give it my best even if it’s a daily hobby. I give my best in everything believing that if I do then I won’t regret failing. And, if I know that I will not be productive in a certain area, then I just quit and don’t do it,” she added.