Local Photography Group Invests in Community
Al Qasimi Foundation
June 10, 2014
Whether hiking deserted dunes, scaling skyscrapers, working the red carpet, or leading interactive workshops, Emirates Falcons Photography is one team of artists who understand their calling and unique context.
The team’s express purpose is “to raise the name of our nation and our cherished emirate of Ras Al Khaimah high” through their photographic work.
Recently, the group has pursued this goal by collaborating with the Al Qasimi Foundation on two events. First, they donated their time and energy to capturing moments from the Second Annual Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival. They later hosted a distinctive Community Gatherings event, Photography for Everyone.
Emirates Falcons has photographed people and sites across the Emirates but is based in Ras Al Khaimah. The group is comprised largely of Emirati photographers whose shared ambition is evident in a conversation with one of its founders and spokesmen, Mr. Ahmad Al Khazraji, who describes the group’s inception.
“Photography was my air, for day and night,” says Mr. Al Khazraji. “The idea of making a group came [during] a random photography chat with my brother . . . when [we] worked on the idea, a group of six young, passionate photographers came to life.”
Since then, Emirates Falcons has grown to a team of 46, 15 of whom are women—making it one of the largest female photography groups of its kind. Members include amateurs, professionals, and award winners, and because the team’s photographers specialize in different fields within photography, they are able to cover a variety of events, from royal affairs to sports matches, from fashion shows to art exhibitions.
Even a brief interaction with the Emirates Falcons reveals that their perspective on their community is both practical and thoughtful. That is, the photographers are willing to leverage their gifts for the benefit of the emirate and are able to articulate why their craft and context matter.
“Photography is very important in the UAE and Ras Al Khaimah because we live in a land of history,” Mr. Al Khazraji explains. “We have real men who walked on this land and created everything you see here out of nothing—every grain of sand and every rock would tell you a story about Emirati men who worked hard to build our future—so the least we can do is to represent their history through our lenses.”
Knowing that the Emirates Falcons members are not alone in their desire to capture the beauty and complexity of the Emirates, the Al Qasimi Foundation asked the club to host another installation of Photography for Everyone.
This April’s Community Gathering represented all dimensions of the Ras Al Khaimah community, both young and old, student and professional, local and expatriate. Mr. Moulham Al Rouni led the instructive segments of the evening, acquainting participants with the nuances of apertures, shutter speeds, lighting, and color.
Several participants from the 2013 photography practicum were eager to join the Foundation for another round of coaching and artistic exchange.
“I really enjoyed the event,” reports Ms. Yvonne Havermann, who attended the 2013 photography workshop as well. “Back home, I immediately checked all the new links we got from the speakers of Falcons Photography and was very surprised to find [pictures] of the event already posted.”
“I enjoyed seeing the pictures that [Mr. Al Rouni] showed us that he has taken as well as his explanation of their composition,” adds Ms. Raquel Batria, noting the team’s artistic insight.
As accomplished photographers, the members of Emirates Falcons bring both the technical and human dimensions of their art to everything they do. Accordingly, Mr. Al Khazraji characterizes the greatest lesson he has imbibed from the group by saying, “The best [thing] I’ve learned is the brothers that I have next to me.”
At the Community Gathering, the Falcons showed that this brotherhood is naturally inclusive. Many of the members of Emirates Falcons are students, and the group is known for its willingness to share its expertise with others interested in photography.
Knowing this, one gentleman traveled across four emirates to attend the gathering and ask for tips for using his camera’s zoom lens. The Emirates Falcons leaders stayed long past the official end of the event in order to exchange thoughts with the participant.
“In the end, our events are about much more than a single cultural or educational experience,” says Mr. Suqrat bin Bisher, the Al Qasimi Foundation Events Manager. “They’re about meeting people, forming connections, and beginning new journeys through those relationships, and Emirates Falcons has become part of this vision.”