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Behind the Lens of Award-Winning Saudi Photographer Faisal al Malki | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Behind the Lens of Award-Winning Saudi Photographer Faisal al Malki

Behind the Lens of Award-Winning Saudi Photographer Faisal al Malki

Behind the Lens of Award-Winning Saudi Photographer Faisal al Malki

Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- “The distinctive feature is the photographer’s eye  not the camera,” began Faisal al Malki as he gave a brief summary of his passion for photography. Although his experience in the field has only spanned over four years, al Malki has made a name for himself and occupies a prominent position among professional photographers on an international scale.

Graduating from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, al Malki works in the advertising field but remains completely devoted to his photography. His transformation from amateur to professional photographer was a speedy one in the outcome of his unique talent and unyielding dedication.

With a collection of over 6,000 photographs, al Malki has participated in countless exhibitions worldwide. He frequently travels to the US and Europe and has provided an astounding range of natural scenery and moments captured using an original approach and a sharp eye.

Despite the similarity of the starting point and approach in photography in terms of aesthetics and technique, the discriminating factor lies in the photographer’s vision. Faisal’s approach combines between a playful randomness in dealing with his subjects and a highly cultured outlook that lends his photographs an intellectual playfulness that is equally pronounced inasmuch as the aesthetic dimension. This characteristic is especially present in his collection of the Arno River in Florence, and in one of his earliest shots of a palm tree in Los Angeles by the coast, which marked the beginning of his intimate relationship with nature.

“What motivates me the most and fully occupies my attention is natural scenery since it is the most evocative and is capable of stirring up a whole range of emotions,” he said. However, Faisal did not limit his photography to nature despite being well-versed in its richness and subtle nuances. He soon directed his lens to capturing people, but rather than shooting conventional portraits he started taking pictures of people in the streets and alleys. This collection included pictures titled, ‘Music Man’, ‘Candy Man’, ‘The Moment of Truth’, ‘Lunch’ and ‘1 of 12’, among others.

Meanwhile, the image, entitled ‘Happy Together’, constituted a landmark for al Malki. It was selected to feature on the cover of a booklet for the ‘Photographic Society of America’ exhibition, in which Faisal received honors for his five pictures with which he participated. This led the International Photography Organization to announce al Maliki as 2007’s first prize winner in the category of non-professional photographs. Al Malki also participated, for the first time, in the ‘Adisaat Arabiya’ [Arab Lenses] exhibition in Ha’il, Saudi Arabia, with two pictures. This was the first time he partook in an Arab exhibition.

The young photographer is expected to receive an award for his photograph entitled ‘1 of 12’ at the Lucie Awards at the Lincoln Center in New York and will be published in “Lucies 2007 Yearbook.” Furthermore, he was awarded an Honorable Mention Ribbon by the Photographic Society in August 2007 for ‘Happy Together’, and won first place in the ‘Special/Other’ category at the International Photography Awards (IPA).

Malki’s voracious appetite for the photographic image saw him venturing into architecture and all things related to history and civilization. He is meticulous in the detail that he captures and has photographed the Turkish capital and Cairo, the city of a thousand minarets.

Al Malki considers photographing monumental features a real challenge. “The most difficult thing for any photographer is to re-photograph places of global interest because of the level of attention they receive from the cameras of photographers. Therefore, the challenge is difficult with respect to how to take pictures and highlight other aesthetic angles and dimensions of the feature,” explained al Malki.

However, this was no obstacle for al Malki who discovered another dimension to the dome of the Mohammed Ali Mosque [in Egypt]. This was added to the photographer’s collection.

Despite the advantages of al Malki’s widespread travels due to the nature of his work, it has deprived him of the beauty of the Saudi territories that await him. “It is very embarrassing that I have portrayed different places throughout the world while my portfolio does not include Saudi Arabia,” al Malki said. However, he intends to dedicate time to touring his homeland in order to capture its beauty through the art of photography.

Behind the Lens of Award-Winning Saudi Photographer Faisal al Malki

Behind the Lens of Award-Winning Saudi Photographer Faisal al Malki