Monday, January 30, 2023 | Rajab 7, 1444 H
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Collecting antiques to relive the beauty of the past

Collecting antiques is a global trend that doesn't show fatigue even today. In fact, the majority of antiques continue to rake in big bucks in auctions held all over the world. These timeless pieces are not only loved because of their current value but also because of their historical importance becoming a symbolic door to the past.

While some collect antique pieces as a hobby, others consider it as an investment as trends show that classical pieces become more valuable as time passes by.

For local collector Saeed Al Wahaibi who started collecting unique pieces from the 1970s to early 2000s, his hobby has grown to become an 'obsession' that even in his career as a photographer, he has dedicated his style to evoke the nostalgia of the past.

"My hobby started early, back when I was just a child. I collect a variety of things from household items, to children's toys to other more historically important documents," he said.

"That collection now includes games, school books, televisions, pictures of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos (may God rest his soul), postage stamps, public telephone cards, old perfume boxes, old wall clocks, some household items such as old plates and cups, cassette tapes, electronic games, video equipment, old coins and banknotes," he added.

That passion for things of the past transcended physical objects and has spilt towards his photography.

Starting in 2016, he said that the way he compose his photo is reflective of his love for antiques. "This step helped me to create my own colour in photography so that the people can easily distinguish my photos," he said.

Saeed wants to convey a message through his pictures that Oman’s past is very beautiful and full of joyful memories, and therefore he tried as much as he could to revive many old scenes again through pictures, such as national holidays, renaissance day, students' return to schools, the joy of Eid and the daily life of Omani people.

"I heard my family tell stories of these things they use to do in the past. I am attached to these memories, longing even that I've become invested to the idea of recreating them. Omani ideas do not end, and beautiful events do not end, and the media has not always been present to extensively document things that mattered. I love reliving the good things of the past and the best way to revive the beautiful good old days is to recreate them," he said.

Saeed’s lens documented the "Amber" game, and as he pointed out, it is one of the old games that young people used to play in the afternoon, and it consisted of assembling some metal cans and throwing them with a small ball.

Saeed also documented the "Qarnaqawa" event, which is celebrated in the middle of the Ramadhan where children especially enjoy a lot of sweets and presents.

Saeed did not forget to document "Al Habta", a popular market that takes place before Eid, where people of different ages visit it to buy some games and Eid supplies. Valuing his friends and how time is changing everyone, Saeed also includes in his documentations the memories he shared with his friends as they gather every afternoon in front of shops while showing off their beautiful cars.

The old school uniform is distinctly different from the modern one, so Saeed's lens introduces us to that style, its colours, and its beauty.

He keeps countless old tools and uses them in his photography to simulate the past.

"I've collected quite a bunch of things from the past. Some were handed down by friends, some I exchanged and some were gifted by my social media followers. My goal is to make a museum where I can house all of them and make that place accessible to filming local series and for visitors to visit," he said.

To get the vibe that he wanted for his photography, Saeed usually scouts different locations that would fit the narrative he wanted.

"I make a great effort to search for sites, organize them and prepare them for filming, and I am very lucky with my followers who always suggest suitable places. I now have two houses in Al Batinah and Muscat that I use as my studio," he shared.

The fun part about what he does is that he is always supported by friends and a team always helps him execute his vision.

"Not surprising, there is actually a community in Oman that is interested in what I do. The response and positive reinforcement I get helps boost my confidence to continue what I am doing," he said.

To check on what he is working on next and for daily updates, you can follow Saeed on Twitter and Instagram: @s33d_w.

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