Mazoun al Ghailani
The facial wrinkles and details attract amateur photographers first, as they think these features tell the story of a whole life. Taken by emotions, most of the photographers document their first album in portrait, before they move to wider scopes.
The same steps were followed by Omani photographer Suleiman al Mukhaini of Sur, who is now interested in various fields of photography as he is also a videographer.
In 2014, Suleiman went on a trip with his colleague Tariq al Araimi, who suggested to Suleiman that he pursue photography.
“My main hobby is designing, and I did not think about photography until I undertook that trip with my friend. Photography is an essential part of designing. I bought a camera, and at the beginning, I didn’t know how to use it until I started attending workshops to learn more.”
Suleiman started his photography journey with the portrait photography that shows the facial features which attract him the most.
Suleiman loves to take spontaneous photos of people without telling them at the moment that he is taking a picture of them. “For many photographers, especially beginners, the biggest challenge is recognising and capturing spontaneous moments; those candid images when people behave naturally and are unaware of the camera. It’s easy to click posing pictures, asking them to stop what they are doing, but some of the best people pictures are those in which they are acting naturally and providing facial expressions and gestures that could never be staged”, he explained.
The hobby slowly improved when Suleiman started attending workshops conducted by professional photographers to improve his skills in photography.
“I learned from many photographers through continuous lessons and workshops. Those veterans include Hussein al Bahrani, Majed al Zaabi and Abdullah al Shayji from Kuwait,” he says.
Suleiman’s passion for photography led him to search for another field to experience. Aerial photography was the second avenue for him to discover the beauty of the Earth and highlight spatial features in remote areas that humans cannot reach.
Through this field, he wishes to show the beauty of nature in the Sultanate with its various terrains, including plains, mountains, valleys and beaches. He is always trying to photograph the ancient and touristic places to show their features professionally and from a previously unseen angle.
He makes preparations before proceeding to take the shot, such as the exploitation of lighting, colours, and elements that constitute the photo in guiding the eye to the main subject of the photo, as he considers consistency as the most important element of a photo.
He said, “The more the elements are consistent, homogeneous and complementary, the more the image is striking.”
One of the unforgettable photos by Suleiman is the picture of the Milky Way galaxy from the archaeological site Kibaykib Tombs.
From his point of view, a successful photographer is the one who educates himself by reading books, magazines, brochures specializing in photography and attending other photographers’ exhibitions to see their works. Seminars and competitions also play a crucial rule in updating the person with the latest changes in photography.
Photography has changed Suleiman’s life in several aspects, the most important is to focus on making decisions before starting work.
He moved to commercial photography in order to develop his skills. Here, his work requires good imagination to produce new ideas. It seems that it is difficult to pursue photography as a profession in the job market.
“There are many photographers who have long experience in this field. But I have proven my presence with the quality that I offer and I am still in the education phase and development”, he said.
Commercial photography has contributed to developing Suleiman’s marketing skills. “Commercial photography helps me to market myself to companies and get the support I need to get my projects, and have the ability to produce interesting new ideas that attract customers. The way is long. It needs patience but finally you will get there. Just have faith”, he adds.