Farah Al Rasheed, a Kuwaiti fine art photographer pursuing her bachelor’s degree in the fine art photography program at Arizona State University.
Photography was always a hobby for me it was my passion. When the time came to pick a major however, I decided to get my degree in interior architecture. I did not get accepted into the interior architecture program, and chose to switch to marketing. After four years and experimenting in different fields, I decided to pursue my degree in photography, learning about the technicalities of the cameras and turning my passion into a profession.
My parents thought I should keep photography on the side and pursue a profitable major. By showing my parents how passionate I am about photography and that it is a part of me, I was able to convince them that photography was what I had to major in. They have been nothing but supportive, they truly believe in my abilities in the world of fine arts.
I started off with digital photography in 2007 and I started adding my own signature vintage tones to all my photos for my viewers to be able to distinguish my artwork amongst other artists. Seven years later I got myself in a dark room at my school, and I would stay there 5 days a week, not to mention my weekends, where I stay sometimes until midnight for 10 consecutive hours introducing myself to the world of analog. My love for black and white film photography kept on growing; then it hit me, that when my time in Unites States was over I have to build my own dark room in Kuwait. If not for my supportive parents, my analog photographic journey wouldn’t be able to flourish in my hometown, and that would greatly disappoint me.
While I continue my studies in fine art photography, I also began collecting 35 MM and 120 MM cameras, as well as, dark room equipment such as, enlargers, negative carriers and chemicals like, the fixer developer and hypo wash to help those who would like to go back in time and capture moments using cameras that our ancestors have used. Adventuring from antique store to antique store finding and buying cameras ranging from 10 to 300 dollars and fix them.
Despite the challenges I may face as a professional fine arts photographer in Kuwait, after graduation I plan to head home for a year and give workshops on how to use analog cameras in a dark room. Of course, dark rooms are not available for our use in Kuwait; however, with the continued support of my parents, they have agreed to build one in our basement. Therefore, having my own dark room in Kuwait motivates me to move back and spread the knowledge I have gained to all those interested and haven’t had the opportunity to pursue it.
Fine art photography is far from commercial and my style is capturing candid moments with the use of natural lighting, my preferred subjects would be the elderly, newborns with their mothers and people my age doing their everyday activities.
One thing I focus on is self-portraits and by that I do not mean “selfies” or posing of some sort. It’s the discovery of one’s true self, and for me, after moving to the southwestern desert of Arizona, it took me two years to get to know my true self through the use of self-portraits.
Currently, fine art photographers are exhibiting my work in museums and exhibitions, not a lot of money comes out of this, but that’s the least of my worries, it’s more about self discovery, passion, vision, and loving what you do. I attend several photography seminars, conferences and lectures in the U.S. and I have attended a seminar in Europe because there is always a lot more to learn.
I wish that there were more photography workshops and lectures in Kuwait, that shared knowledge and work of some of the most inspirational photographers such as; Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Sebastiao Salgado, Han Nguyen and most importantly to me, Vivian Maier, who has not only been a massive inspiration for me, but she also has a “highly skilled eye and acute photographic sense.”
Maha Al Asakeris, is one of the few Kuwaiti photographers, and one who caught my eye, she followed her dreams, doing what she loves. Also a motivating factor to me as a Kuwaiti photographer, she is one of the reasons that pushed me to do what I really love, I was inspired.
A majority of my photography projects, describe myself, my Arabian culture, and my community, which is also a way for me to introduce my cultural lifestyle to my friends, peers, and colleagues.