A self-proclaimed photoholic and light addict, Marwah AlMugait’s childhood was immersed with art, culture and a love of travel. Finding herself in constant need to capture the perfect shot, made her realize that what started out as a hobby became a fully-fledged obsession. Creating her own studio, Marwah AlMugait Photography, AlMugait sought out to provide clients with high-quality images. In her latest project, Avant Garde Arabia, AlMugait created a series of shots that combine the traditional Arabic dress with the avantgarde aesthetic, creating a breath taking series that we can’t wait to share. Here’s a sneak peek.

How did you get into the world of photography?
Eleven years ago, I got my first Canon film camera and started shooting random pictures with a black and white film. I became inspired by the beauty and artistic elements of photography, whether it was the light, the shade or even the subject itself! My passion grows each time I discover the marvelous changes that these elements can do to an image. I found myself constantly searching for the perfect shot, whether it was trying to capture innocence in the face of a child, history from an old man or an unforgettable moment between friends. The tendency towards capturing such moments provoked a combination of building an aesthetic point of view and executing a professional production.

In 2005, with my family’s support, I managed to establish my home studio equipped with the basic lighting and studio accessories. The daily practical experience of working in my studio coupled with the frequent blunders, provided me with constant enjoyment and determination. Being approached from a variety of clients brought along several challenging aspects, they ultimately added to my professional development. As I matured and continued my experience, I started working with fashion magazines and shooting for commercial projects.

Do you feel that photography changes peoples’ perspectives?What is the role of the photographer?
It definitely does! As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. An image can represent an idea or a story, the recipients in their part; interpret the image either negatively or positively. It’s surprising how a group of people have a different understanding for one image based on their cultural background and education.
The photographer has a leading role in freezing a valuable moment. The images of the recent Arab revolutions set a great example on how photographers had a fundamental role in terms of conveying the real atmosphere, events and facts to the world. We as recipients felt the strong emotional wave coming out of those photographs.

What are your favorite subjects to take photos of?
Faces and features are always a major attraction to my eyes for that reason I’ve focused my photography on portraits be it fashion or street photography.

Favorite camera to work with? Digital or analog?

Each has its own unique flavor. Since I am doing mostly studio photography, I found that the SLR digital cameras are more practical in terms of editing the image and deleting the unwanted ones. I have come to the realization that to create professional photos you not only need to understand the technical side of photography but to
also embrace both practical and theoretical aspects of the field. This allows you to have a clear message come through when capturing an image.
My advice is to never go too technical and always trust your eyes because it’s the first tool that makes you visualize an image before it’s been captured.

Wish list camera, lighting equipment, and accessories?
I had a big smile on my face when I read this question! Well as long as the photography industry is growing, our wish list as photographers becomes endless. Recently, I had the queen of cameras the Canon 5D Mark II, which is considered to be a wish that came true and am extremely pleased with the result it gives me. In terms of lenses, I
am looking forward to some wide-angle lenses such as the Canon 16-35 mm. For the lighting equipments, I do believe every studio photographer visualizes his or her studio being fully equipped with a Pro-Foto lighting kit.

How would you define your style of photography?
A black and white portrait with a gray background! And I’ll leave the defining to the reader.

Which photographers do you look up to the most?
I do admire the great portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz’ work, the Canadian fashion photographer and the master of lighting Martin Prihoda, the recently discovered street photographer, Vivian Maier and
last but not least the French street artist JR whom inspires the world with his brilliant art projects.

What are you working on next?
I just put the last touches on my latest photo shoot “Avant Garde Arabia” which has the artistic aesthetic of the avant-garde movement combined with traditional Arabic costumes and presented in a contemporary theme of photography. I am planning to work on more conceptual photography projects as well.

Saudi Arabia Guide with Marwah
Favorite hangout spot: Le Café Lenôtre
Best burger in town: Burger Boutique – Riyadh
Best places to find unique finds: Old town- Riyadh
Best coffee: Arabic traditional coffee at home
Best dessert: The Mille-feuille at Le Café Lenôtre
Items you can never live without: My Blackberry and my Mac laptop