Young Saudi preserving Arab culture through a camera lens

Mar 17, 2018 by

JEDDAH: Bateel Yamani, an 18-year-old photographer, launched her first book of photographs at an event at The Social Space in Jeddah this week.

Yamani, whose pictures impressed the guests at the launch, explained that the passion for photography runs in the family. Her grandfather and mother are both keen amateur photographers who would visit their city’s historic old quarter Al-Balad on a mission to capture its atmosphere.

“My mother bought me my first camera when I was seven years old. My parents believed in me, I started participating in competitions. I was in first or second grade when I participated in my first competition — and I won first place.”

Born and raised in Jeddah, Yamani’s childhood success encouraged her to pursue photography. Now she has self-published her book of photographs. The project is the culmination of nine-months’ work during her senior year at Dar Al-Fikr School in the city. She hopes to find a publisher after first self-publishing her work.

Talking to Arab News, she said: “This project is driven by pure passion and my responsibility of conserving my own culture as an Arab. I feel like we have a duty to preserve this culture, nourish it and teach the world about it.”

Yamani took the photos when she visited Morocco and stopped at the port cities of El Jadida and Casablanca as well as Marrakesh and Fez. She has plans for a further exhibition after she has visited other Arab countries, promising that “this is only the beginning.”

Nawaf Al-Nassar, a member of the Saudi Art Council, who was at the launch event, was impressed by Yamani’s work. “As an architect, I see a type of rhythm in the arches of the buildings in the photographs,” he said.

Among those who attended the launch was her school graduation project adviser, Ghadir Fanari, who said: “When Bateel wants to do something, she will pour her heart into it. She knows exactly what she wants to do, sets her goals and does everything possible to achieve them.”

Source: Young Saudi preserving Arab culture through a camera lens | Arab News

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