Let the photos do the talking

LAKSHMI KOTHANETH –

They say that student life is one of the most exciting time in a person’s life. It is during this time that imagination is encouraged to take form, where dreams are worked upon to make it a possibility and hope is where it is the strongest.
And it is exactly what one gets while looking at the photographic works of final year students of the Higher College of Technology (HTC) now on display at Bait al Zubair.
Nasira al Mugheiry and Darren De Silva, lecturers from HTC and members of the judging panel, explained that part of their assessment includes the way the students present their body of work.
It means that more than the physical form of the photo, they are also looking at the story of the entire presentation understanding the genius behind the visual’s significant messages.
“We are assessing the graduate students on 10 goals. At the college, they were told that their messaging must be clear and that it must cover significant topics like the social issues facing Oman today,” Dareen said.
“Here, at this exhibition, we are trying to find out whether they are up to mark with their area of expertise,” Dareen added.
Running for two weeks, the exhibition has clear cut objectives.
“The purpose of the exhibition is to show to the market how our students are doing. We are trying to demonstrate that they are capable of doing different types of photography,” Nasirah explained.
The walls of Bait al Zubair are dotted with landscapes, architecture, portrait among other photographs all narrating a story based on the perspective of the student photographer who took them.
Around 14 graduate students from the photography department have their work on exhibit but other students from the department joined in for the Omani Flag Project.

Taking the centre stage
The Flag Project is currently at the centre of the exhibit. About twenty students came together to create the project.
From afar the mosaic photos forms a flag but stepping closer, one would see and realise that they are comprise of different photos covering different subjects.
“This is the spirit of Oman,” a student representing the group said.
It consists of images curated from all students in the department.
“This is a symbol of our love to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, the nation and our dedication,” the student representative said.
In addition, the students clarified that the reason they selected the form of the flag is because it exudes their professionalism, integrity, flexibility, team-work, creativity and abilities to communicate.

Their own story to tell
Ibrahim Said al Araimi has deep passion for shooting headshots.
But to stand out from others, he explained that he does it differently infusing his own style and creativity.
“Most people shoot headshots on plain background. My goal is to do it in a cinematic effect,” he said.
For Badr al Shahab, black and white photography has its endearing qualities.
“Black and white photography has its own character. You need to properly compose a picture especially lighting and what you wanted to come into focus.
“I think black and white gives out the details in a beautiful manner,” he said.
Silhouette is another form of photography that has been chosen by several students and one of them is Said al Gammari.
With his body of photographic work called Patience, he captures ordinary moments in extraordinary ways. His collection show case a man working on his farm and another, a man fishing which is a source of his livelihood.
“I like to use photography and its techniques to tell a story,” shared Said.
For those who focused on taking portraits, the students shared that this form of photography brings into focus the importance of reading, learning and traditions.
Although their subjects background vary, it is important to pay attention on what made them who they are. While some photographs focused on the local scenes, there are others that were taken when they journeyed out of the country.
Maha al Nadabi is one of this writer’s favourite. Her photograph is that of a young mother and her daughter sitting outdoors while stitching an Omani kimma in a village setting.
She also has another picture of a “weaving woman” which she encountered on her trip to Nepal.
“I had gone to Nepal for 10 days. I saw this woman and find it real interesting. I asked her permission to take the picture while she continued to work.”
Omar al Balushi chose to work with architecture.
“I would like to open my own studio and have my own business someday.” His work focused on different grand buildings.
The exhibition at Bait al Zubair is a culmination of two years of hard work by the graduation class depicting the students’ individual abilities and unique interpretations of the unique visual medium.