Home-grown talent: Emirati photographers

National pride coupled with government support for the younger generations has been a key factor in the UAE’s growth over the last 40 years. Vison.ae finds out from two up-and-coming photographers what it means to be Emirati

The growing arts and culture scene is clear to see in the UAE, with international museums such as Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Guggenheim due to open in the near future, and the prestigious annual fair, Art Dubai, growing in prominence every year.

But in addition to attracting the attention of the international art scene, the country has taken measures to nurture its home-grown talent. Nasser Ali, an 18-year-old amateur photographer, describes the support available to help develop his talent: “I am a member of the Arab Union of Photographers (AUOP), and belong to the Emirates Photography Society. My work has been displayed in more than 20 exhibitions, and I have won many photographic contests.”

The ambitious nature typical of the younger Emirati generation is also clear to see in 24-year-old student Mohamed Aljaberi, who tells us: “Being an Emirati has given me a great chance to improve [at photography] because our leaders always encourage us to give what we can give. I hope to reach the world with my photography and compete with famous photographers internationally.”

Both Aljaberi and Nasser seek inspiration from the UAE’s rich natural beauty, and view photography as a vehicle to educate the rest of the world about the country’s heritage and values. “Inspiration arose from my love of nature and art. Moreover, the beauty of the creatures was worth presenting in marvelous pictures. Photography is the link between the beauty of nature and the public,” explains Aljaberi.

Nasser continues: “Photography is not only an art; it is also an international language. It reflects the sensory impressions and draws the ideas in an easy way, so everyone can understand it.”   

The two young Emiratis are staunch supporters of the UAE's bid to host World Expo in 2020, reflecting the pride they hold for their country and a belief in its ability to stage a successful event. “It will be a really great achievement if the UAE hosts World Expo 2020; we just want to be the best in all the fields,” concludes Nasser.