Interview To Omar Ayyashi | Through The Eyes Of A Photographer
What makes a good photo?
This simple yet complex question evokes both practical and philosophical arguments over this subject. Photography is often referred to as synonymous with art, craft, trade and even science – all of which each of us as unique individuals perceives and sees very differently. At its core, that is what makes photography so incredibly interesting. It is the freedom to choose what resonates with us at that particular moment in time. Humans think through images that cause the invoking of emotions. A story captured by a “click”, a soul vibrating through its light and colors, a vision frozen forever and seen through the eyes of someone standing behind a camera.
The eyes of Omar Ayyashi – a Spanish photographer with Palestinian roots have captured many of those moments since he was a child. Although he mostly creates fashion editorials and advertising campaigns, Omar’s art-photography portfolio is diverse and includes graphic campaigns for several NGOs to raise awareness, enchasing every “flash” with the essence of his personal view.
He is a son, a husband, a father, a friend and a photographer always looking for the perfect asymmetry.
You have Palestinian roots, however, you have been born and raised in Spain. What is the connection you feel with your country of origin?
Palestina means many different things for me. Family, nostalgia, love, struggle… and especially, my father, a reference in my life, an example of sacrifice, leaving home, a family, looking for a better future out of necessity and to prove the world that behind adversity there is always an open door, an opportunity to start again.
You have a background in advertising and marketing, yet, today you are a thriving photographer. How did you discover your true passion?
Well, I always remember myself with a camera in hand, I would take my parent’s camera, my neighbour’s who was a photographer… And I would shoot everything I liked. Landscapes, people, the sea. One day I realized that the cameras I was using had no film in them. It was all analogic then, and it was expensive to shoot. I promised myself that this would never happen again, that whatever I would shoot would remain not just in my eyes. Thinking of the idea that I could stop time in an instant, fascinated me.
What inspires your work behind the camera?
Above all, daily things, the small details. We don’t normally observe them due to our rushed life. I’m also inspired by the cartoons I watch with my son and of course, by the work of the greatest photographers and painters. I like taking time out to visit a museum or an exhibition and search for inspiration.
“ A couple” of words that define your language as a photographer:
“A day without photos is a wasted day. It’s like a day without the Sun.”
A lot of your work is based on shooting for fashion editorials and prominent individuals, but you also have been commissioned to portray situations of social injustice. Being both the opposite poles, what can you say from each experience? Is there any connection between one and other?
Social photography has helped me understand how to portray people’s souls, to capture an instant, find a look, connect with those on the other side of the camera in a more intimate way and in doing this, discover all its essence, its beauty and its best flaws…
How do you establish complicity with the person who is in front of the camera?
I always try and talk with them, get to know them, what worries them, what they like and what makes them uncomfortable. I look for common ground where we both feel at ease. Complicity has to be mutual. The protagonist also has to win me over to achieve it.
Your work is visually very attractive. Is there any message you want to convey through the images you capture?
It depends on the work I’m doing but the common denominator is that I always look for beauty and harmony in my pictures… Even if you are protesting against something, I think it’s easier to achieve your purpose if you think positive and look a the bright side of life.
According to your opinion, which factors (both technical and external) contribute to making a good shoot?
Always have the best professionals close to you. This is a team and nobody is more or less than anyone else. Everybody has their own space and responsibility, if someone makes a mistake, we have to help them, we are all in it together. When you achieve that harmony with your team, you can see the results.
What’s the best thing the career as a photographer is offering you?
To see life in infinite ways, the people you come across… They are small love stories that remain in your soul and enrich you as a person, as a human being. Some remain forever and others end with the last shoot.
What can you tell about the photography industry nowadays?
I think we should make the world understand that we artists have decided to do what we like in life despite everything. Doing it any other way would make no sense for us.
Is there any dream place or human being you would like to shoot and that you have as a pending assignment?
Yes, I would like to tell the world that we know how to do it, we know how to live in peace while the governments fight their office battles with terrible consequences for innocent people… But families, mothers and brothers live together in harmony with those the rulers say are their enemies. That is not true, there are love stories between those people.
Is there a favorite person that you love working with? Why?
Yes, my wife. I have more complicity with her than with anyone else…
Do you have any big projects coming up?
My next big project is to live up to my family’s dreams.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Free time? What’s that? (LOL). I love outdoor sports. The sea in summer and the mountains in winter.
How do you balance your personal and professional life? What is your favorite ritual to disconnect?
They complement each other. Vocational professions are within you. You are always a photographer. It’s a part of you… Taking in the sea breeze with my wife and son.
In your opinion, what does success consist of in a career as a photographer?
To get to like what you do and convey what’s in your heart.
Do you consider yourself a successful individual?
I don’t think success is individual. I would be nobody without my team, my friends and my family. I consider myself an enthusiastic person who is allowed to work.
Our motto stands for “You can be, do and have anything you want.” What do you think of such a statement?
I think you can achieve anything with perseverance, work and sacrifice. Without a shadow of a doubt.