So I went to see Arsenal play at the Emirates this weekend and ended up having a photo I took go absolutely crazy on the internet.
Over 5 years of random tiring photography jobs over weekends and evenings to pay my way up from a standard point and shoot camera to my current £2k Canon setup and it was a photo I took from my iPhone 4s that made its way into the papers.
It wasn’t till a friend and fellow gooner, @maxwellcoop who knows a thing or two about PR saw the photo and tweeted it out to some Arsenal bloggers that the real madness began. Within a few hours it was trending under #Wilshere with thousands of tweets and more people using the image on Twitter and Facebook.
Pretty soon the papers came calling and the next thing I knew I woke up this morning with a big print in The Times and features on Daily Mail Online, SkySports FanZone, and BBC 606’s newsletter.
Technology is outstripping Moore’s Law and is driving game changing innovation in digital and social spheres. The experience has been a reminder of how much my world has changed since I truly got the digital buzz during my Masters in Design at Brunel. Working on starting www.casseroleclub.com with FutureGov put me in the environment with great creative minds using digital and design to address social issues.
In a talk by IDEO’s Tom Hulme he mentions that the first iPhone 3 has more computing power than the entire NASA setup who put the first man on the moon! With more powerful cameras and sensors being built in to smartphones and new ways of hacking things to fit you (hello Sugru) I wonder how long until my SLR is always second choice.
In my opinion photography isn’t always about technicalities and settings, it’s just about capturing a moment with what you have and sharing it. I finally have a case study to prove that sometimes the best camera is the one you have on you.
On Saturday I had the honour to once again take photos for the annual Lady Fatemah Trust Gala Dinner, a charity which never ceases to impress me with it’s dedication and global outreach.
Fifteen years ago visionary Amirali Karim formed the charity with the mission of eradicating poverty and suffering. The core belief of the charity is that “everyone has the right to be safe, healthy, skilled and equal, regardless of race or religion” and that using the “philosophy of empowerment it is possible to produce lasting solutions to poverty”.
Amirali Karim’s passion seems to transcend through his emotional heart felt speeches and the army of dedicated volunteers who selflessly commit their time to help organise all aspects of the charity including the highly successful annual Gala. Amirali Karim and his family are exemplars for young British Muslims aspiring to succeed and give back to society. The most remarkable aspect of the charity, aside from it’s current turnover of almost £1.3million annually is that it continues to operate on a 0% admin cost. Many of you involved in charities will know this is simply incredible and a testament of what can be achieved through well coordinated cause-driven voluntary support.
The list of beneficiaries seems to be endless, including cluster bomb victims in Lebanon, assistance for amputees in Tanzania, food and disaster relief for areas in Pakistan, eye clinics in Iraq and Zanzibar, clean water projects throughout rural India and orphan care programmes throughout Gaza, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. A particularly interesting development over the last few years has been the growth of the micro financing programme providing mechanic equipment, sewing machines, agricultural instruments and support to empower communities in poverty stricken areas.
This year’s guest was Nobel Peace prize nominee Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish author of “I Shall Not Hate” and the first Palestinian doctor to receive a staff position at an Israeli hospital treating both Israeli and Palestinian patients. Dr Abuelaish’s life is one of tragedy, victory and sublime patience from putting up with humiliating border checks on his way to work in an Israeli hospital whilst many of his fellow Gazans would miscarry at the border. In 2008 he lost his wife Nadia to Leukaemia and in 2009 a few seconds after closing his daughters’ bedroom door an Israeli shell blasted through the wall killing 3 of his daughters and partially blinding and disabling a fourth (a far too frequent occurrence in the occupied territories). Dr Abuelaish silenced the crowd with his heart-wrenching story and his sincere faith-driven commitment to peace, his national bestseller “I Shall Not Hate” discusses his commitment to use his anger to drive positive change.
“I know that what I have lost, what was taken from me, will never come back. But as a physician and a Muslim of deep faith, I need to move forward to the light, motivated by the spirits of those I lost. I need to bring them justice… I will keep moving but I need you to join me in this long journey.”
Dr Abuelaish founded Daughters for Life in honour of his daughters, an awards scholarship scheme gifted to young women in the Middle East to be used for university tuition, health and other education programs. His talk had me emotionally frozen to the extent I struggled to lift my camera for the first time in my life. Dr Abuelaish’s standing ovation led to the second round of pledging in which donated items were auctioned including photography by Ahsan Abbas, signed sports memorabilia and unique art by Samir Malik. Samir Malik’s piece entitled “Be Like the Flower” fetched £2.5k and in my opinion was an ideal link with much of Dr Abuelaish’s philosophy. The piece was inspired by Imam Ali’s (a.s.) quote:
“Be like the flower that gives it’s fragrance even to the hand that crushes it.”
Special mention was given to late Salima Khalfan a selfless long standing volunteer of the charity who passed away in November 2011 after a twenty month battle with cancer. Salima (a distinguished dental surgeon at Guy’s Hospital, London) continued to serve the charity throughout her battle and the Salima Memorial Medical Education Project was set up in her honour. Her husband and daughter Nylah were presented with a unique memorial award in front of an emotional crowd.
In a single night the Lady Fatemah Trust managed to raise £170k to fund projects for the next year and as event organiser Riyaz Dhalla closed the event and thanked attendees he reminded us that 15 years has been just the beginning of the Lady Fatemah Trust’s mission to tackle poverty and suffering in the hardest hit areas.
It was a pleasure to be involved in the Gala Dinner and I congratulate the entire team and attendees and hope to play a part in the immense work the trust undertakes in the future.
My slight obsession with photography started around 4 years ago but in all honesty had been in the making for a while. I’ve always been drawn to images of moments, a photo of Malcolm X mid speech or someone passionately protesting against something they deeply care about. I used to (and still do) spend ages flicking through old family albums trying to imagine what was going on at that moment of time. I’m a big fan of photos that allow you to really think about that moment. It’s something I still do today, flick through the ‘day in pictures’ and try and understand what’s happening in that frame.
As a hobby it’s addictive, not just the sound of the shutter but trying to capture an image that translates what you can physically see or want to emphasise on into a frame is a real challenge. I can’t say I’ve mastered but I think that’s part of the enjoyment. I’ve uploaded some of my photos on the site, from stills to protests I like trying to capture something.
This poster caught my eye in February 2011, outside the Bahraini Embassy I joined protestors who were showing their disgust at the ruling regimes violent backlash against peaceful pro-democratic protestors. The regime had imported Saudi Arabian forces who played a role in the terrible treatment of protestors as well as the abduction of doctors, nurses and surgeons attempting to treat patients in main city hospitals. Al Jazeera’s remarkable documentary ‘Shouting in the Dark’ sheds great light on the ongoing injustices being committed in Bahrain.
Walking around Oxford Street on a rainy day in the run up to Christmas I noticed this guy making fresh egg noodles. He was totally engrossed in his work blissfully unaware of the manic high street rush going on a few centimetres away from him.