I think I have a natural ability to see art in the world. I take photos of what I feel could be a good photo. Photography has always interested me, but not until I started high school was I able to get actual photography education. I love all forms of art, but I enjoy photography so much because it allows much more instant gratification than other art forms, such as painting or writing. I have too many ideas to articulate, and photography lets me make as much art as possible. Other mediums like painting and drawing are difficult for me because I start so many projects and never finish any of them. I have too many ideas an d visions to make them all reality.
Some artists that I like and that inspire me are John Singer Sargent and Yumna al-Arashi. Both use similar elements in their work as I do, such as colors that complement each other well, framing, and subject matter. I am especially influenced by Yumna al-Arashi in that I would like to do photojournalism and freelance photography as well. Other photographers I like are Sally Mann, Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, and Richard Avedon. I also love good cinematography, such as in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Her, Requiem for a Dream, and Black Swan.
My method for taking photos would be a direct approach, or point-and-shoot. The equipment I use varies- I usually take photos with whatever I have most readily available, whether it’s an iPhone or an actual DSLR camera. I don’t use any special lenses, and I don’t like to do much post-production editing, if any. I think photographs, mine at least, look best as they are taken. When taking photos, I don’t think about the ‘rules’ or ‘guidelines’ of photography very much; I do what comes naturally to me. I look for good composition in the world- you can find a good photo anywhere if you try hard enough.
My photos often have a nice color scheme, and are never super bright and colorful. Personally, I really don’t like bright colors, so this translates into my work, even if it is not all black and white. Many of my photos are landscapes, but I would like to work on more portraits. To me, portraits are better if they are candid, or at least semi-candid. You can see more genuinely who a person is, because you are seeing them as they are, rather than who they want you to see.
I hope to continue with photography professionally and to do documentary photography, editorial work, and freelance photography. I’m still learning and I’m sure my style will grow and evolve over time.
Yumna Al-Arashi was born in 1988, and grew up in Washington D.C. with her father, a diplomat from Yemen. She attended college at The New School in New York, studying politics with a focus on the Middle East. She is currently based in Los Angeles and New York. Though she is not super well-known, she is recognized by many major organizations, such as VSCO, National Geographic Abu Dhabi, the US Department of State Office of Art in Embassies, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, and Forbes Magazine. She has not studied photography and is self-taught. Her main focus is photojournalism. Yumna uses her work to show her heritage is a positive light and show the reality of the people living in the Middle East, and to empower women with portraits emphasizing the female body and sexuality. Her photography ranges from candid portraits, to landscapes, to fashion, but she has a unique style that is easily recognized throughout her work.
“I play in a lot of different arenas- activism, feminism, fine art, fashion, politics, travel.
They all feed off of each other in strange ways for me, and there’s always new things to
learn and create. I can’t imagine only stepping foot in one world; I love expanding my
knowledge, allowing different things to inspire and influence me. We have all these
resources at our fingertips, how could you not? Life would be so dull if you didn’t take
the time to learn about and indulge in the world around you.”
– Yumna Al-Arashi