WATCH: QL Exclusive: An interview with Qatar-based fashion photographer Rafid Alloh
Photography is one of the instruments of documentation, which has been used for ages.
People have used it throughout history, to tell stories and it is one of the ways to record histories and to keep the culture of many nations all around the world. As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Qatar Living speaks to fashion photographer, Rafid Alloh, the founder of Raffeed-Photography in Qatar, to learn more about how he uses the camera to feature fashion in his own way.
The Palestinian- Lebanese fashion photographer, who is based in Qatar, was featured as the best photographer on Instagram by Fashion Trust Arabia on August 2, 2020.
His interest in fashion led him to many successes during his work-life. Rafid was one of the photographers who were invited to many international events such as recycled Nespresso dress, and a private shoot at the Qatar National Museum opening.
Additionally, he had photography projects with many famous people, like Yasmin Mansour, Maria Borges and Naomi Campbell.
Rafid remembers his excitement to work with these personalities. “I had many concerns that I will not be able to go and meet them. I never imagined that this will ever happen in my life, and they really liked what I did,” he said.
His journey began in 2010. Back then, he did not own a camera and was using his uncle’s camera for shoots.
“My uncle had a small old camera, which he used at family gatherings. Whenever I wanted to hold the camera, he wouldn’t allow me to do so,” Rafid recalled.
“I began using the camera without him knowing. I started taking some random pictures of the people in the street. This is how I pursued my love for photography,” he said.
Rafid is a self-taught photographer who used fashion magazines to help him understand the techniques of taking pictures of models.
“I started buying fashion magazines, to feed my eyes with that kind of photos. I felt that I belong to this field, the fabric, the shadows, the lighting, and everything. And I love to imagine how things were behind the scenes in my mind,” Rafid said.
He was lucky enough to be supported by his sister, who is the one that bought him his first camera in his journey with photography.
“The only one that saw something that no one saw was my sister, who worked really hard to afford the money to buy me a camera, she bought me an expensive one back then,” he mentioned.
Rafid started his job relying on nothing but his old camera, and sunlight.
“My first camera had no flash in it, and the camera was so old, but it was really expensive back then. I was shooting outdoors at the beginning because I did not have any of the equipment but the camera. So, I used to rely on the sunlight at the beginning,” he explained.
When his sister gifted him the camera, Rafid launched his small business. After he had saved some money he bought another camera and he hasn’t changed this camera since then. He believes that it is all about the thoughts and creativity, not the materialistic things.
“I never changed my camera lenses since seven years. I did not change anything. Same lighting. Same everything, all that I changed is the settings and my thoughts. I have only one lens,” he mentioned.
Rafid finds inspiration in his surroundings in Qatar that help boost his creativity.
“Qatar is a diverse country which gives you a lot of opportunities to merge the Arabic, western, Asian, and African cultures and this helped me to come up with something unique and different.”
Rafid created his own style in photography by mixing between the traditional and the modern style, while weaving in the Islamic identity.
People can recognize his style in his photos as he leaves his identity in each photo, and this is what helped him to be unique, Rafid said.
“Every time I take a picture, I really care about the ways that I can inspire many people by one picture. I want them to see the stories behind every step behind the scenes. This is what my eye sees, people should see my vision through every picture,” he said.
Talking about the COVID-19 crisis, he said it has affected everyone’s plans and projects but the important thing is to stay positive.
Rafid also had the same issue as most of his plans were affected by this time. However, he is still optimistic to do more projects in the future.
“I was planning to collaborate with some famous designers and models abroad, but everything got delayed due to COVID-19. But for sure, everything is temporary, and I am planning to have many other projects, and I will keep going no matter what.”
Rafid advises that one should not be afraid to think differently and do what they feel.
“Creativity has no limits,” he says, adding “I have been through ups and downs in my life, but one of the most important lessons is not to give up.”
“I thought about giving up because no one was accepting my ideas or even the idea of fashion photography, but what I did is I kept going with very positive vibes and I found out that being different means that you are special,” he said.
To know more about the photographer Rafid Alloh, you can check him on Instagram @raffeedphotographer.
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