Internationally Acclaimed Egyptian Photographer and Digital Photo Artist
By Shorouk Abbas and Lydia Schoonderbeek
“I am a professional self-taught photographer who envisions life and its attributes, creating mood, sensation and beauty with images through the lenses of my camera. Born in Cairo, I sense a spirit of desert and sun along with the magical essence of Egyptian culture and its great history; thinking snaps of such beauty would be the road to my dream.”
CWM: Khaled, how did it all start?
KA: In my childhood I used to be the one behind the camera for all family events, with just a simple film camera. The funny thing is, I never dreamed of becoming a photographer, although it has always been my hobby since childhood. The turning point was when I worked as a marketing manager of a group of companies. One of them was a photography company. Life got to start when I was in charge of putting together a marketing strategy for hiring international photographers to carry out work in Egypt. I started working very closely with them, and it was only then that I decided to shift my career to become a professional photographer. I followed those photographers everywhere, travelling here and there, and I joined their workshops. I got some deals in Egypt, after which I established my own photography agency in Dubai. Later, I launched my courses sponsored by international photography equipment companies i.e (PROFOTO), MANFROTTO and ADVANCED MEDIA LLC.
Being interviewed by so many local and international media channels, I was inspired to start my own TV segment Yalla Tasweer on MBC Dubai TV, during the morning show Good Morning Arabs with the aim of teaching people at home how to enjoy photography with affordable stuff, without using expensive equipment. There was another season for kids aged 4 to 9 years, followed by a special season for Special Needs Photography.
Do you only travel to photograph?
I travel to meet people, to learn about cultures, and to use my photography as a window for people to get to know each other better. As a photographer, I travel to exhibit and sell my works, to take new shots, and finally to teach courses and take people on photo trips. I have been to Tibet, the Himalayas, India, London, Italy, Turkey, Jordan, and Oman. I have a different story for every place. I was in London, for example, to receive my award during the London Biennale 2015.
Tell us about your Biennale award and how you came to receive it?
London Biennale is one of the most prominent art events where contemporary artworks from around 40 different nations are present in the same place, showcasing artists who exhibit in some of the most important galleries in the world. I won two awards: first place in photography, and third place in digital art photography. In addition to that, I gave a workshop on photojournalism in Chelsea Old Town Hall, which was attended by 153 artists from all over the world.
I have one photo called “Time”, which is a portrait of an 85-year old woman, and an Egyptian tanoura shot that received an award during Chianciano Biennale 2013 in Tuscany, Italy.
How do you pass on your skills and knowledge to budding photographers?
In addition to the many courses I cover in Dubai, I will be running a photography course in Egypt this May, for the third time. This will enable participants to learn about both the technical and artistic aspects of the field. Registration can be made through my website: www.khaledabuldahab.com.
How would you describe yourself in 5 words or less?
One shoot can change your life … oops there are 6 words, but small ones.
What can’t you live without?
My mom and my camera.