Through the lens: Echoes of the Hajjar

In the middle of October this year, the Centre Franco Omanais (CFO) inaugurated the Western Hajjar Mountain photography exhibition which showcased the works of the talented Qasim Mohammad Said Al Farsi, a 35-year-old Omani national who spent many months travelling and hiking through the Hajjar Mountains to photograph its diverse and breath-taking landscapes located in the Sultanate of Oman.
This comes after his first and successful solo exhibition The Hidden Side of Oman’s Landscape.
Qasim Al Farsi is a Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique (FIAP) and Photography Society of Oman member. FIAP is an international organisation that heads international member associations in the photography industry around the globe. He is a full-time freelance photographer who enjoys traveling and visiting new undiscovered areas and photographing their landscape using long exposure. Word about his work and talent has spread across the country and the world has spread like wildfire as he participates in various national and international competitions but also been invited to join jury or judge many international and local photography contests.
The CFO in the recent months has become increasingly popular amongst the upcoming artist as they have extended their venue and help to support local art forms of all kinds. During the months from September to June the following year, CFO hosts a variety of exhibitions, concerts and other events showcasing the diversity in the fine art industry and the talented artists in the Sultanate.
Christian Adam de Villiers, Director of the CFO said, “It is very important to host artistic works created by people having so diverse experiences to express and share with others. In a world in which the communication is everywhere-anytime, it is precious to give to the people the occasion of meeting creators and their creations, wishing that it could lead to true encounters.”
The exhibition was conducted in collaboration with the Photography Society of Oman. Established in 2012, PSO is a non-profit organisation representing the Sultanate in the FIAP.
Qasim is a board member of PSO in a section responsible for social activities and photography requirements for the events. Grateful for the platform they have continued to provide for him, Qasim says, “PSO helped me intensively to not only build my portfolio but also create my own unique style of photography. They were the first people that helped me host my first solo exhibition, The Hidden Side of Oman’s Landscape and since have become a valuable and proud member of this wonderful organisation.”
During the event, along with his photography that was displayed around the walls of the room, there were also the many accolades and trophies that Qasim has achieved through the many years. Some of his many achievements include second place at the ArabPix photo contest in the nature division, two honourable mentions at the esteemed Square-Crop-Snap competition and the Oman ART international photography competition. He also won first prizes at the 9th Renaissance Day Photography Competition in Oman, Red bull photo contest and at the Al Roya Youth Photography contest. Other than these successes in local and international arenas, Qasim has also received many honourable mentions in many international photography conventions for his photography that are usually about Oman and the rich and diverse landscapes present across the country.
Of course, Including the necessary talent and skill and unique vision of the photographer, also important is the equipment one chooses to use. Qasim’s choice of camera’s and lenses are the Nikon D810 fx, D600 fx and D7000 fx and Nikon 14-24 F 2.8, 24-70 F 2.8 and Nikon 70-200 VRII F 2.8 respectively. Along with him also travels is Tripod, a Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fiber with XPRO Ball Head and L Plate and a WONDERPANA filter system filter. Although to the layman these might seem like letters and numbers, to a photographer these are essential to their hobby.
At the exhibition, when viewing his work, it was evident that Qasim possessed a unique talent for capturing landscape of Oman in the best angles and in their best light. His work uses a balance and skillful use of the shadows and light cast by the sun to the advantage of his camera. This produces a photograph that is not only beautiful but also a work of art, giving us a new angle and facade of the otherwise dry and arid Hagar mountains.
In conversation with this talented cameraman and artist, he said, “landscape photography isn’t easy and yet some of these photographs just happened to be perfect. It requires a lot of walking, trekking, and hiking to find the right place or reach the correct peak and a lot of planning and organising but sometimes it comes as easy as being in the right place and the perfect time”. He pointed at the photography beautiful photograph of a sunlit mountainside and said, “this is my favourite shot and yet it required minimum effort, I was in my car and passing this at the perfect moment. I just took out my camera and captured the scenery in front of me”
Western Hajjar Mountains is a series of photographs taken during Qasim’s travels through the namesake. He travelled to well-known peaks and valleys Samil, Nakhal, Rustaq, Jabal Akhtar, Jabal Shams, and Ibri. Through this series, Qasim hopes to show the beauty of this diverse country, he said, “through this exhibition, I wish to give the viewers an idea about how beautiful these places are and if one can get to the perfect place at the right time, these places can become the epitome of beauty.”
PSO welcomes hobbyists, enthusiasts and professionals local and expat who wish to share, express and enhance their photography skills. They have an active gallery that is open daily from 8 am to 10 pm. For those interested in joining, membership to join the organisation is free. The main aim of the organisation is to promote local photographers by not only giving them a platform but also providing them with the help and guidance for those seeking support and have interested in this exciting and fun hobby.

Titash chakraborty
titash894@gmail.com