“I like photographs of people in their natural essence”
Shadan Al Hamdan appreciates the little things in the life. This, together with her eye for detail, allows her to capture and document those candid moments which to others, may go un-noticed.
Hi, please introduce yourself to our readers:
My name is Shadan Al Hamdan. I’m a 20 year old Kuwaiti female. Between getting my Bachelor’s degree and working on a recent small business, @prnt.kw, which I co-own with my friend, I like to spend my time with friends, family, travelling and exploring the city.
Tell us about your education. What are you currently studying?
I’m currently studying Civil Engineering at Kuwait University.
How did you become interested in street photography and what got you started? Who was your influence/inspiration?
Photography has always been a hobby of mine, even before I got into the whole street photography scene. I’ve always loved documenting and keeping track of photos I shared with loved ones. Taking pictures of everything, no matter how little or irrelevant they may seem to others, was a simple way of me documenting beautiful days and memories. Slowly, with time, I became inspired and felt the need to document everything and everyone around me. I guess everyone around me was an inspiration that lead to my love for street photography.
Do you ever feel like you are a woman in a man’s world with street photography?
Not when I’m outside of Kuwait but unfortunately in Kuwait, most of the time I do. As a woman, walking around alone in the city with my camera isn’t what society is used to. Also, lots of the places I go to when exploring the city involve mostly men. It’s hard finding women, especially locals, walking around the city; and when you do, it’s usually risky and hard to take a photograph of them. But I fully accept the challenge and hope to document more of how life is for women in Kuwait.
How do you describe your photographic style?
I’d describe it as spontaneous and raw. I like photographs of people in their natural essence.
How and when did you start @mycitystreets_ account on Instagram?
I started @mycitystreets_ on instagram in February 2016. At the beginning, I used to post a couple of street photos on my personal account, until a friend of mine encouraged me to create this account and post more street photos there. I’m glad I did because as a result, I got excited and started looking forward to exploring the city more and taking more pictures.
How do you find your subjects?
I don’t really look for subjects. Anyone in the street could be my subject, without them knowing at times. They could just be getting on with their day and I’d see something and find a shot in between their actions.
What are the factors you consider before deciding to take your photos?
My most important factor is that the subject isn’t aware. I like it more when the subject is at ease and doing whatever it is they were doing that caught my eye, inspiring me to capture the moment.
What kind of equipment do you use?
I don’t like carrying equipment around with me. I like to keep it light and easy, so just my fujixt10 camera and iphone and I’m good to go!
What is your favourite street photography experience? Is there a particular image of yours that has a weird/wonderful back story?
One time when I was driving, I saw a tiny open door in an abandoned area as I approached the city. It caught my eye and of course, being the curious photographer I am, I changed my route, parked my car and got my camera ready. At first I was a bit scared because I was alone and was contemplating whether to go in or not. I decided to go in anyway and as I did, I was amazed to find a bunch of ice-cream bikes just parked there! It was something I definitely didn’t expect to find behind the tiny door of an old abandoned building.
What continually drives you to photograph in the streets?
It’s the constant motion, the way people are every day, in their candid situations. Also, to me, the city facade and natural sunlight adds a great value when it comes to street photography.
What kind of impression do you hope to leave upon others who see your photographs?
I hope when people see my photographs they start paying more attention to little things in life and start appreciating the beauty in everything.
You shoot both black and white and colour. Which do you prefer?
I personally prefer black and white, it’s timeless and it gives a more aesthetic pleasure.
What is your number one street photography tip our readers can use to improve immediately?
Try to blend in. Don’t wear something too flashy that will cause the subjects to pay attention to you more, it will cause them to leave their natural state. You’ll get more candid shots if no-one notices you’re around! Also, try to travel light. You don’t want to be walking around with lots of things in your hand. A camera and a backpack with cash and water will be more than enough.
Any favourite cities you would like to capture?
Yes, I would love to shoot in Cuba and India at the moment.
Your message for us at CP magazine:
Thank you for selecting me to be part of the magazine! I hope everyone likes my Monthly Street Photography contribution!
Your favourite quote on photography:
‘To me, photography is an art of observation, it is about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I found it has little to do with the things you see, and everything to do with the way you see them.’ – Elliot Erwitt
Thank you! And do keep on doing what you are doing! We love it!< Back