A warm interview with Qatari Photographer; KHALIFA AL OBAIDLY
March 23, 2015
Mr. Khalifa, first of all, could you please introduce yourself? Thank you very much; I am a Qatari artist using photography as media to express myself. I was born in Doha in 1969, and I have 5 children. I work for Msheireb Properties as the manager of Msheireb Art Center.
When did you first meet photography?
And what does photography mean to you in short? I remember that my first camera was a present from my father when I passed to 5th grade at school. From then, I felt that photography had a place in my life which came out when I joined to Qatar Photographic Society in 1988 on the first year of my education at the University of Qatar. Photography is my passion with which I live every day. It became a part of my life that I practice every day even without camera since the eyes are the greatest cameras.
Do you make any preparation before taking a photograph?
Or do you just capture and take the moment? I usually take the photographs of the things interesting me and catching my eyes. However, I do not call every photograph I took as an artwork. I usually develop the idea of the artwork; it sometimes takes a few minutes in the location and sometimes weeks or months. But in general, I have to prepare and motivate myself because each photograph carries my soul.
What branch of photography are you interested in more, and what kind of photographs do you like to take? Do you like black-white or color photographs? I have done almost all types of photography including underwater photography, which was necessary to do during my last 20 years to find what like more in photography. In fact, I focused on the art projects in my habitat and cases around me more, which I believe that artists have to involve in social problems and issues; express these subjects through the artworks; and find solutions. I like to do both color and black-white photography; but the subject and the type of the project lead me to prefer color and black-white.
How do eyes and brain link in perception when taking a photograph?
Photography needs talent and skills to be developed in order to be able to bring out the best images. Also experience, which is gained by years of practices, contacts with the other photographs, and attending exhibitions, is very important in this field.
Do you have photographs you call as your pupils throughout your profession? I have published many photographs in media and magazines in Qatar and international art magazines but the photograph published in National Geographic Magazine on March 2003 issue made me so proud and took me to international level. This photograph was taken for National Geographic photographer Robb Kendrick during his assignment in Qatar.
Are there amateur or professional photographers you like or like their style?
There are many amateur photographers in Qatar and other GCC countries; but serious photographers we can name as are hand countable. The new and digital generation take photographs only for fun and some of them do documentary and touristic photography. Professionally thinking, I like Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado, who touches the human feeling with his photography.
Are there any websites you exhibit your photographs? Do you share your photographs on social media? Well, I used to have a website, but since I was lazy to update it I closed it; so I am presenting my artworks and activities on the social networks such as Instagram and Facebook. All my friends and fans follow me there and they get all the information and activities about me from there.
Have you ever been to Turkey for photography? If yes, where was the most fascinating place for you? I have been to Istanbul many times. It is full of beautiful places for photography, but I mostly like Grand Bazaar and the Blue Mosque.
As a last word, what kind of changes in cameras and lenses are being expected in the coming years? The technology of photography is developing very fast and it is available for all photographers; so what makes you a different photographer from the others is what you have to ask yourself if you want to do serious photography. Thank You Mr. Khalifa for Interview