Rather than seek out obvious subjects of beauty, a local shutterbug has made waves capturing the hidden beauty in the ordinary. With a sharp eye for color and appreciation of the unusual, amateur photographer Zaina Al-Humaidhi shows a skillful mastery of changing perceptions with her work.
The young photographer’s passion involves making art out of situations that other people might not even give a second glance. Bursting with vibrant colors and usually delivering a message of positivity, Zaina’s photographs shine a light on how everyday events can be reimagined into beautiful photographs.
Zaina grew up in Kuwait, spending both her primary and secondary years studying at local schools before moving on to work in PR at a bank. Despite the popularity of her work and her strong grasp of creative imagery, photography was just a hobby she picked up after the emergence of Instagram. “With time, I realized that I really enjoyed photography and started developing my skills further” says Zaina.
The local photographer then formed a unique outlook on seeking out the best shots – she captures events from her daily life and revisits them to draw out beautiful aspects on the scene. Her love of yoga, the outdoors, traveling, and experiencing new cultures, are some of the many scenes highlighted on her Instagram feed. There is image after image of everyday people in everyday situations, creatively edited to turn a once ordinary event into a beautiful piece of art.
Her work features a wide array of images, from that of an elephant strolling down a city street, women hard at work sewing clothes while adorned wth bright sarees, and a lone Indian man standing out amongst the crowd in a hot pink turban. “It all depends on the place and time.” explains Zaina, “I’m proud of all my work, but especially of photographs taken abroad in areas that are not perceived as being as nice or scenic.”
Perhaps the best example of this can be seen right on our cover this month, a beautifully patterned umbrella with its vivid colors popping out from a black and white background. “This was actually a very random shot,” confesses Zaina, “I had just bought the umbrella from one of the people selling them at the old palace we were visiting, and I was in love with the vibrant colors. I didn’t want to be part of the shot, I just wanted the umbrella to be the main character.”
The themes of her photographs generally uncover how a simple detail can be edited to create a large effect. Her love of picking out the differences in the ordinary relates back to the people who inspire her the most, her mother and sisters. “We’re all very close, yet so different and have different styles,” reveals Zaina, “Our differences are my inspiration.”
Rather than place importance on the location, Zaina focuses on the mood and general energy of snapping shots. It all boils down to how the place makes her feel. “I personally don’t have any challenges that restrict me from pursuing my hobby. The only personal challenge would be that it depends a lot on my mood,” explains Zaina, “If I’m in a good mood, I see good shots. If I’m not, you could put me in the most scenic part of the world and I wouldn’t be able to take a shot!”
However, her love and growing skill in photography has placed a strong, beneficial impact on both her mood and daily perception of life. “Photography makes me see the world in a different way. Everything to me is a piece of art,” says Zaina, “I now have a more positive outlook towards life. I’m most proud of my photographs that have changed people’s perception of something or some place.”
Encouraging positivity and playing with artistic creativity come to life within her photographs. Zaina shows great talent despite being relatively new and not receiving much training. She offers these words of encouragement to any aspiring artists: “As much as you read and learn, photography has to come from the inside. It’s not something you learn from a textbook. There is no right or wrong. Do what you feel is right, other people’s opinions should not affect your work.”
Even for those who don’t wish to dabble in photography, perhaps the most important thing we can do is support the growth and development of local artists. “Appreciate their work. Give them credit,” says Zaina, “Accept that each artist has a different point of view.”
Photography can change the way we view everyday events, and even the most hardhearted person can change their outlook if they view life from a different angle. “I try a lot to add a positive vibe to my photographs,” says Zaina. “I hope people see my photos and change their perceptions about their life and the world.”
Through her work and her words, Zaina has shown how even the most mundane events can seem spectacular when placed behind the right lens. She will continue to shine her light on the ordinary, and capture the unusual beauty of the daily interactions in her life.
If you’d like to see more of Zaina’s unique photographs and learn about her celebration of positivity, follow her on Instagram @zalhumaidhi.