Rendezvous with Ali Ghorbani
What does photography stand for you?
In addition to being a career of course, I believe my camera has served more as a passport for me. It has given me privileged access to some amazing people & a chance to know little personal things about their lives. Other than that some incredible places across the globe and a few unforgettable experiences which I may have never had if I weren’t a photographer.
What bifurcates a good picture from an average one?
A successful photograph should elicit an emotional attachment to the viewer, regardless of whether it’s happy, sad, shocking, and inspirational and so on. Also, if you can bring your viewer into the story of the image which you’ve created to give them some or all of the experience of that moment, then the photo has done its job. In short the picture should seem like a mirror of their life to the audience.
How has digital photography changed the world of pictures?
The Digital (R) evolution has democratized photography. For example, everyone who has a mobile phone also has a camera on it, so the volume of photographs has grown exponentially. According to the stats, 1.2 Trillion photos were taken in 2017, the majority of which were from smartphones.
“Connection with the subject” how important it is from a photographer’s perspective?
Extremely important, especially for portraits and portfolios; where your job as a photographer is to present the real aura of the subject. You are being trusted to create an image with & for them. I try to find common grounds, anything from travel to food to music in order to make a connection. This will help them feel more at ease with you, and thus show you more of their “real” personality.
What is the future of mobile phone photography?
I see the biggest leaps coming in the field of mobile phone photography, both in terms of technology and users. For example, there are mobile phones from Huawei now have 3 Leica triple lenses built-in, and this will continue to evolve and improve with every new model and manufacturer. This is the reason why I’ve started giving mobile photography for social media workshops. The reception has been tremendous, and in fact, it was in one of my workshops where I met the wonderful editors of Beyond the Boundaries.
Your Journey began at a tender age of 16; two things which you enjoyed a lot?
Football and Traveling had always been two things which always fascinated me since childhood. One of my dreams was to become a professional football player. Even today the feeling of being fascinated as a first-time traveler is what it hits me whenever I travel across countries and await at the international airport to board the flight.
Being trained under the likes of Ashraf Talaat and Henry Dallal, how do you feel as a professional?
As one of Egypt’s most celebrated photographers, Ashraf has been a big influence for me from the technical point of view, from advising me on cameras and lenses to provide critical inputs on my work; Ashraf has been really kind to me as a professional. Henry and his illustrious career journey of becoming a portrait photographer for Her Majesty ”The Queen of England” served as inspiration for me. It was Henry’s influence that gave me the push I needed to pursue photographing the likes of Keanu Reeves, Shirley MacLaine and Robert De Niro.
You also judged a photo contest in the year 2014? How was your experience judging them?
Yes, that was the first Egypt International Photo Comp. It was a great experience for me but it was challenging at the same time. All the submissions were digital, so it was hours in front of the computer. However, the winners deserved the win; and the total experience of this event made me learn a number of things as I went through many pictures which was synonym to perfection.
You have always been in limelight because of the film connect; How do you feel about being so popular?
I don’t see myself as being popular because if you let that get to your head, then you lose focus of your actual work. Everyone who knows me also knows that I have fun while I work because I love what I do, but I prefer to let my work speak for itself.
You also covered international events such as IIFA Awards Macau; share your experience to cover the most celebrated personalities?
Photographing red carpet events is very challenging physically and emotionally. You usually need to carry multiple cameras and maneuver among hundreds of other photographers who all want “the” shot as perfect as you portrayed for the stars. There are down moments when nothing is going on but all of a sudden someone like Leonardo DiCaprio or Shah Rukh Khan arrive and total chaos breaks out; which takes you to the highest level of excitement and everything just turns right for you!
What do you enjoy the most; Capturing Celebrities or Common People?
Celebrities always have a big entourage around them, so you have to really manage people well in order to get your shots during a very short time. When I travel to places like India, I really enjoy photographing everyday people on the street, and I can take my time to get the shot I want. I enjoy both because they are different from each other and more than that, they are close to my heart.
Few tips which you want to give to the upcoming photographers?
Know your camera inside out, you don’t want to be in front of your client/ subject and not knowing how to get the images you need. Don’t forget the real reason you started all this, whatever it may be, be true to yourself. Don’t take photos to impress other photographers; I see lots of young photographers these days doing this. Make sure you have a presence on social media, but don’t let it rule your world.
Photographing red carpet events is very challenging physically and emotionally. You usually need to carry multiple cameras and maneuver among hundreds of other photographers who all want “the” shot as perfect as you portrayed for the stars. There are down moments when nothing is going on but all of a sudden total chaos breaks out; which takes you to the highest level of excitement and everything just turns right for you!
ALI GHORBANI – Ali G Studios