As much as one can train to become a practiced photographer, at the end of the day it is an art form that is embraced by professionals and amateurs alike. What started as a hobby, being the designated family photographer and videographer, turned into a fully-fledged passion in 2008 when Tootie Al-Sabah, along with her mom, came upon the work of Hamad Darwish. At the time, Darwish made the news for his pictures being selected for Windows Vista desktop photos, and upon meeting the talented photographer personally, Al-Sabah’s perception of photography shifted to one that is artistic rather than a tool to capture those memorable family celebrations.
Starting off with a small compact Canon camera, she began to consider the world in a different light, and then came Flickr, where her equipment shifted to a Canon G7 followed by a DSLR. “I finally found an outlet for my creativity. I have always admired art in all its forms but was simply never able to draw or paint anything beyond stick figures and very basic trees. With photography, I just have to capture the moment.” We know our wonderful readers are familiar with the photo-a-day challenges taking place on Instagram, Flickr, and other social media channels. For some, perhaps the journey is more personal, as the process unveils hidden talent, passion, and more importantly, the ability to commit. For Tootie, she considers the process as exploring the creative in an unconventional way.
Combine the convenience of a smartphone with a great camera, a few apps here and there, along with a desire to explore a daily element of surprise—That’s all Tootie needed to get started on her 365pics project. “ I wanted to challenge myself, using the help and aids of both my iPhone and the Hisptamatic app. I started on June 29th 2011 and finished on June 27th 2012 (2012 was a leap year but I still did 365”.
Seems easy enough, don’t you think?
You’d be surprised what turning this fun project into a studied routine does to you. The stress of exploring and finding something new and meaningful to shoot can get to you. Tootie learned this the hard way, “I learned to stop panicking about the whole issue. Whatever picture is meant to be for that day will be taken. Planning a photo almost never works, I sometimes plan on taking a specific photo for that day but I always get a better photo.”
Another useful tip from Tootie: Use your close network of friends and family, they will help you with your finished decision, and more importantly, you’ll create the opportunity of a new bonding experience. She adds, “Another incredible pro was the fact that I was forced to explore my definition of creativity. Since this was a daily project, it became a constant in my life, almost a type of meditation, if you will. The thrill of finding our what my picture was going to be was great! Actually, my biggest worry was what I was going to do after the project was over. I had a feeling that I would be lost without my daily picture.”
So why not have a go and give this project a try? You never know what you might discover about your own abilities. For instance, Tootie’s latest obsession, making interesting kaleidoscopes with her pictures, is an idea that stemmed from collaging her images. Having to do take a daily image unlocks a world of interesting apps that simply make the experience all the more enriching. She concludes, “There are so many scenes that can be captured even if I’m home for a week. The biggest lesson has to be that, no matter what; I will always get the shot. I learned to stop panicking about the whole issue. Whatever picture is meant to be for that day will be taken. Basically stop stressing the little things, and enjoy life.”
You can check out Tootie’s work by looking up #kaleidoscopedby2t on Instagram or follow her @Fatima2t.