In a remarkable triumph for Omani photography, Nouf al Siyabiyah, a talented young female photographer, has captured the world’s attention by winning the prestigious gold medal at the renowned FIAP International Award recently.
This remarkable achievement not only celebrates Nouf’s extraordinary talent and creative vision, but also brings well-deserved recognition to the thriving art scene in Oman.
Nouf achieved gold at the individual level in the under-21 category at the FIAP (Federation Internationale de l’Art Photographique) International Youth Photography Biennial recently.
In an interview with the Oman Observer, Nouf shared, “I started my career in the field of photography in 2020. The corona epidemic and the series of lockdowns inspired me to discover my talents and hone them. I started in the field of drawing and worked in several other fields until I found comfort in the field of photography. I was creative in it because it brought out my ideas and allowed me to communicate my thoughts to people.”
She said that her first year was spent developing her skills and it was only in 2022 when she started participating in local and international competitions.
Nouf considers her style of photography to be a description of an event or specific expressions, as she focuses on the details and shows them by increasing the contrast of the image.
“This artform is very visual. You are only able to communicate your thoughts and ideas through what’s on the picture,” she said.
Of the many different genre and subjects, Nouf love working with childrend as their spontaneity, innocence and their inability to pretend conveys the message to the viewers right away.
“I am also drawn to photographing landscapes that carry a different story and feeling,” she said.
Nouf has received great support from a lot of people but primarily her family who has the greatest role in encouraging her in pursuing her dreams.
“As for government agencies, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth provides us with competitions and support so that we can be more creative in this field. In addition, I do not forget my university. The University of Technology and Applied Sciences in Muscat also had a role in my progress,” she said.
Nouf said any photographer will have their series of challenges as they venture into this artform. She shared that she used to be bugged by not having the required cameras and lenses but later realised that art has nothing to do with tools, but rather the ability of the artist to deal with these tools and to be creative.
“Some of the best pictures I have taken are the ones that carry deep messages. I am fond of this one series I created which dealt with kidnapping — comprised of three photos that showcased the heartbreak of when children are kidnapped. The topic touched my heart and it allowed me to explore the different feelings and emotions of this gruesome act,” she shared.
Talking a bit about her winning entry, she said that the shot was actually very spontaneous and even she was dazzled by the details. The look of the little girl, which was mysterious and her expression, communicated a lot of things which she said might have been the reason why it resonated with the judges.
Nouf shared that she plans to conduct courses in photography and to produce works that carry messages for various issues. She looks forward to continuing to participate in local and international competitions and to represent her country Oman well.
To other female photographers, Nouf said the key is persistence especially for those who are looking at it as a hobby. She said the processes will make one realise that there are everyday learnings to can get while doing the process. She also encourages others to explore different style and methodologies and find something that works with their fashion.
Nouf shared it is also important not to compare oneself with others but rather focus on self growth and develop one’s skills.
In her recent triumph, she shared that ultimately, it was all thanks to Allah who has gifted her with the skills that allowed her to win the competition.
“Winning the competition motivated me to continue my passion for photography. It’s great to see that the fruits of my labour are being realised,” she shared.
“I would like to thank everyone who contributed in my progress. I am truly honoured to have gotten support from a lot of people including the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth. I hope to be able to do more work that the country can be proud of,” she said.