Pictures have been part of human life for ages. They have been evidence for historical events, political changes, environmental changes, etc. We use pictures to tell stories and to remember memories from the past. We use them to remember our loved ones and those whom we lost. Pictures carry out our emotions and moments so we can remember them one day. We can go to that particular moment through a picture.
I remember the family gatherings around family pictures and how my aunts were laughing and talking about every picture they had wether in birthdays or back home in my hometown Alqala’a. Pictures will remain after us to tell more stories to generations to come. In this article, I decided to highlight Libya’s most amazing and talented photographers, both males and females.
This is by far, the longest article I have ever written on my blog and it has the highest number of people as well. I am thankful to every person who approved to be part of this piece and those who refused or never replied, thank you as well. You can check some of the photographers’ work through their instagram handles.
1- Ahmed Butalak
Ahmed is a 29 years old photographer from Benghazi. His beginnings in photography were on 2008 – 2009 when he got his first camera as a gift from his grandmother. He went through many experimental phases and he tried different styles of photography until he settled for portraits specifically street portraits which he is very passionate about. He is very much inspired by the sunlight. He described the camera in a way that moved me personally, he said and I quote ‘’I imagine the inside of the camera as a way to apply the vision of my mind’’.
2- Ahmed Shembesh
Ahmed is a 26 years old photographer who started with limited resources and he took it more seriously in 2012 when he discovered that the first thing he thinks about was photography when he goes anywhere. In his beginnings, he started with general themes than he shortly found himself more into landscapes photography and children portraits. He is inspired by the spontaneity of children and also the beauty of nature in general.
3- Aiza Ben Taher
Aiza began photography in 2017. She loves taking pictures of natural landscapes. The camera lens became my eye. Everything has a meaning and for me, nature means life and positivity. Flowers represent love and kindness. Her pictures have a vintage touch and you can clearly sense her pictures and the stories behind them.
4- Ali Anwar Zarga
Ali started to take pictures on 2012 and it was through a photography group and the idea was to take pictures for a certain theme each week and from that, he found his passion in photography and he started with them by using a phone. After a while, he purchased a camera and he devoted so much time to develop. He is a member of Benghazi jam3iya for photography and he met amazing people in this field.
5- Amin Elamri
Amin first held the camera at the end of 2011 but he used to take pictures with his phone before that. He wasn’t aware of the progress and development in photography until 2010 when his brother bought a camera. He enjoys every moment of photography even if the outcome wasn’t good. He takes pictures with professional cameras and phones, it doesn’t matter as long as you document the moment. He doesn’t consider the camera as a tool or a machine, he considers it as ongoing expansion of eternity.
6- Anhar Jaber
Anhar is a medical school graduate, anesthesia specialist, in 2018. One of her hobbies is drawing and media especially audio and she got the opportunity to work in a radio station as a part-time job during her school days. In her beginnings with photography, because of her love of documenting special moments. She is mainly attracted to random moments in street life and everything vintage. In her opinion, the camera is a tool to stop the moment and the drive to develop and get better is what makes someone a great photographer.
7- Areej Shakshuki
Areej is a 26-year-old civil engineering graduate. Her story with photography began without even realizing that she had something for it. The first time she got a phone, she began to take pictures of her friends. On 2012, she bought a small Kodak and she used it all the time then in 2014, she bought her first professional camera. Photography has been always a hobby for her and it was her way to express herself. She gained confidence because of it and it has been her tool to run away from reality. It has provided her with financial stability. She met so many great people through photography and learned so much from other photographers. She is inspired by so many things, a video, a song, or even a story. She is inspired by other people and their philosophy in life and how were the same yet so different. The camera is not only a machine but her friend and it has helped her become the person she is today and it is still helping her throughout her journey of self-discovery.
8- Elham Sheklawoon
Elham is one of the special photographers in Libya even though she doesn’t consider herself one but her pictures reflect so much beauty and authincity. She is an English language student from Misuratah. One of her hobbies is photography and astronomy. She doesn’t have a professional camera and all the pictures she managed to take were by her Iphone 5s camera and she soon found out that she loved to take pictures. She is mostly inspired by nature, little details, and simple lifestyle. She adores traditional beauty that is present in any city or country. She describes the camera as her eye, she doesn’t only capture pictures but she captures the things she feels something towards and you can clearly feel it through her pictures. Simply, it is a reflection of her inner beauty I would say because beauty only captures beauty.
9- Esra Alshaari
Esra is a 22 year old architecture and Urban Planning student from Benghazi. One of her hobbies is photography. She is also talented at Arabic calligraphy. She is one of the most passionate people I personally know and she is a living inspiration. Esra’s style is very unique and beautiful. The way she sees things is very special and different. She has an artistic eye if it is the right description to use. Her number one source of inspiration is nature. You can clearly see it through her pictures because she takes special care of small details. She wants to deliver the beauty of nature and she has always loved it since she was a kid. She considers the camera as the human eye because once the photographer sees things through angles we usually can’t see. The camera is the tool to transfer the image the photographer sees.
10- Fatima Yousef
Fatima is a graduate from Art and Media school, design and nnn department, class of 2011. Her graduation project was a poster for a humanitarian campaign for elderly citizen home and from it, the idea of commercial photography began and she worked in this field for many years. Later on, she stopped because she was busy with marriage and starting a new life but photography was still there especially during her traveling and discovering new places. She loves outdoor photography and spontaneous shots. She got better and better and she gave her full attention to relatives and family.
She has over 15000 pictures over the past 15 years but she stopped taking pictures for strangers until she began following the photographer Hiba Shalabi and her passion towards the old city of Tripoli. She discovered a cause that is worth following and documenting which was the destruction the old city is currently facing. Ever since she started to take pictures of the old city and she allowed herself to appear publicly and her pictures were well received by people. She had a collaboration with Hiba and they had an exhibition together and the Italian embassy in Libya was one of the attendants. The camera for Fatima is the tool that helps her to document great moments that maybe will never happen again and it is her only shot to take those pictures.
11- Halima Ahmad
Halima is a high school student and she loves photography. She considers it as part of her soul in a way she can feel better with and through photogrpahy. She is mostly inspired by nature and she loves to take pictures of people laughing and smiling spontaneously. She is so talented and she hopes to develop more and more.
12- Hamza Aljali
Hamza was born in Benghazi in 1992. He graduated from Computer Science department, University of Benghazi. He used to play basketball in Al-Ettehad Nadi and one of the activities he does is free diving and underwater photography. He loves diving and photography and he managed to combine them both in order for people to see the beauty of the Libyan shores. He started diving in the age of 16 and he began taking pictures underwater at the end of 2015. His favorite beach to dive in is Om Al-Hijlan in the west of Benghazi city. He aspires to become a professional diver and fisher. #Humans_stories_of_Libya #Feras_Gutani_photography
13- Huda Jerbi
Huda had a love for photography since she was a kid but she began to pay it serious attention on 2013. Her favorite type of photography is landscape especially plants and flowers. She pays attention to the little details others wouldn’t pay them much attention. Photography in her opinion is a tool to document memories and send a message. She wished if she could specialize in media, specifically, camerawoman.
14- Kasim Alqutany
He first began in photography in 2007 as a hobby and sports photography was his first trial and two years later, he began professionally and worked with numerous Libyan and Arabic magazines. After 2011, he participated in many exhibitions. He said that the camera is an eye to see the world through. It transmits the feelings you have for people at a certain moment. Especially when it is a passion. He tried to study both technical and practical photography but unfortunately, there are not any institutions specialized in this. That is why he hopes to see such institutions in Libya which can provide a great opportunity for youth especially after the high acceptance for photography in Libya.
15- Mohamed Bushaala
Mohamed is a medical student from Benghazi. His memories with photography began when he was in middle school. He used to borrow his friend’s phone to take pictures of everything. His aim at that time was to document everything. He didn’t want to miss any moment. A few years later, he managed to get his own phone and he continued with the documentation. He was interested in taking pictures of small objects, the idea of being able to capture them and show their beauty was exciting for him. Although he was just in the beginning of his journey but the support he recieved was priceless. He got his first professional but simple camera from his aunt and then he managed to get another camera with more professional featured and this one was a gift from his mother because she noticed how his eyes sparkled whenever he talks about photography. For him, photography helped him develop and he discovered so much about himself and the world through his lense.
16- Mohamed Shibli
Mohamed is an IT control system graduate. His story with photography began in 2007 when he started to take pictures with his phone camera but he didn’t try to improve his skill only until the end of December 2012, he made a goal and that was to develop his skill and he devoted his time into doing so by watching youtube videos, reading, and anything that could help him out. His friend helped him with getting his first camera. He is known for taking the best pictures of children and his pictures hold beauty and warmth that you can’t really feel with other pictures. Instagram: mohammed199011
17- Mohamed Sherif
Mohamed began his journey in photography on 2010 in Scouts. It was his first trip with them as a mentor and he was responsible for the media team and he loved photography ever since. He took a photography course to learn the basics so he can develop and understand this field better. Ever since every day he learns something new and he works in a commercial company and he takes pictures for stores, companies, graduations and he considered his camera as his third eye and he takes it everywhere. He wants to document everything and a year ago, he started to learn video photography and he hopes to shoot his first movie or tv series one day. Instagram: m_elshreif
18- Mohamed Almaghour
He is a 22 years old Scenario and production student at the Art and media school at the University of Tripoli. His passion began in 2011 and he was only 14 at that time with the first phone he got. In the beginning, he took photos of flowers in his house’s garden, he took pictures of ants and insects and with time, he began to document family trips, gatherings, and friends. He started to upload pictures of landmarks from Tripoli in Libya, especially the old city when he met Hiba Shalabi and he joined Trabulusna team and hashtag save the old city of Tripoli campaign. He got deeper and deeper with photography and he gets his inspiration from the love he holds for Libya especially Tripoli. The camera is his love and his third eye that he once puts a hand on it, he enjoys and loves dearly.
19- Mohamed Badi
Mohamed is a 29 years old IT graduate from Benghazi. He is an employee at Brega company. He began his journey in photography in 2012 with other colleagues. He was excited about the outcomes at that time while when he sees them now, he considers them bad. With time, that changed into a passion to a point where he thinks about photography everywhere he goes. Lately, he is passionate about food photography especially Libyan food and he hopes to present it to the world in a unique way.
20- Mohamed Alkasah
Photography has always been a hobby for Mohamed from an early age. He watched other photographers and read about it until he reached a pointed where he found himself ready to get a camera of his own in 2015. Ever since it changed from being a hobby to a passion. One of the things that inspire him is streets, buildings, old belongings, and horses. The camera became an integral part of his life that he reached a point where he can see anything and think of the camera right away.
21- Mohamed Alwafi
Mohamed doesn’t consider himself a professional photographer but his photos show beyond his expression. He is inspired by the moment and the place. The picture shall carry with it all the feelings, meanings, and the places it is taken from.
22- Mohamed Masli
Mohamed is a media graduate from University of Misratah on 2010 and he is specialized in general relations. He has been working in the field of photography since 2008 when he first started as a supporting photographer then a photographer and after that to photography manager and finally a director. He got his knowledge from workshops and training sessions in and out of Libya. Also, by interacting with Tunisian filmmakers. He used to save from his own money to be able to attend behind the scenes work done in Tunisia from commercials to TV series and movies. He is a friend with Amin Masaadi, a cinamatographer, since 2009 and Hatem Nishi since 2012. He learned by observing and practicing and he is still learning.
He has directed two movies and he follows the documentaries style when it comes to directing shows. He is inspired by human beings and the details of each individual’s lifestyle and stories. He urges on searching and paying attention to every detail in our lives in order for us to bring out a different and unique picture that is different from what others usually see. For him, the camera is a door, he opens it and moves from one empty room to another and in each one, he creates his own world.
23- Nour Hejaji
Nour is a 16-year-old photographer. Photography is a form of art, it is a free art that gives me a new perspective for life. This vision is full of beauty and it gives me a good feeling after every picture. She always loved pictures albums especially the ones we had when we were kids. She always wanted the moments and memories to be documented in a tangible form. She started in photography 5 years ago but she began professionally about a year ago. She used a professional camera at the age of 11. She took courses with the photographer Mohamed Shibli and Youtube videos. It became part of her personality. Her goal is to send a message with every picture she takes. She is inspired by nature and music.
24- Nazeeh Magheder
Nazeeh officially started his adventure with photography in 2013 when he got his first DSLR and before it, he only used his friends camera or small cameras. He mentioned in the interview that his camera means so much to him because he has a weak memory. The camera is his only way to document his life, especially, his phone camera. He always finds himself scrolling through his camera roll to remember all the events he previously had. His professional camera is his tool to document the beauty of a certain moment especially when you might not be able to witness it again.
For inspiration, he believes that photography is a gained skill rather than a total talent. In the past four years, he has been taking pictures for financial gain, however, there is this motivation that he gets to actually go out and document certain moments.
25- Nusaiba Isam Sabri
Nusaiba is a food photographer and stylist. She loves all forms of Art. On 2016, she started her journey in food styling with her father in Egypt. After that, she went back to Benghazi and worked hard on herself to reach the level of professionality she is at now. She is mostly inspired by nature, colors, and shapes of food. The support she recieves from her family and friends is what keeps her going. Also, she gets inspiration from books, Pinterest, etc. For her, the camera is a pausing tool and a method to transfer beauty seen by the eye because the picture is first captured by the eye then the camera changes it into a tangable picture.
26- Osama Alfeid
Osama is a photographer and graphic designer. He is interested in art and media and passionate about the Libyan identity and music. He is the founder of al7ashya . He first started in 2004 when he got his first camera from his cousin as a gift. From that, his passion increased and every year, he learned something new and discovered so much about photography. He states that the picture is made by the photographer and not the camera as it is, it is only a mean to make it happen. The camera for him means the thing that gives value and meaning to our surrounding.
27- Qasim Tantoush
Qasim is a 20 years old student at Art and media school and he is resident in Tripoli. He has been taking pictures for over four years now but he started it as a profession in 2017. There isn’t a specific thing that inspires him but he always observes other photographers and that helped him a lot to get better. His camera is his best friend and it is part of him. Instagram: qasim_tantoush
28- Sadik Elgallal
Sadik is a Marketing student at Ottawa University. He was born in Benghazi and spent most of hil life in it until he moved to Canada in 2014. He has always liked taking pictures but he didn’t realize it until the summer of 2016. He decided then to purchase his first DSLR and make an Instagram account dedicated to photography. He can clearly see how much he improved so far. He learned photography through the internet and Youtube and he never took photography classes. When I asked him what inspires him, he said ”What inspires me is the fact that I can capture moments that no one has ever captured. ”
He is mainly active on Instagram but he is developing accounts on Twitter and Facebook to further share his work with the world. He has collaborated with massive brands such as Daniel Wellington (watch company) and Catalyst Case (Apple product cases/covers which is sold in the official Apple stores) as well as small local brands here in Canada. You can check more of his work through his Instagram page.
29- Salem Abozamazem
Salem is one of the most unique Libyan photographers. Ever since he was young, he loved art and drawing. He started in photography in 2013 and he was inspired by other photographers on Instagram. He enjoys taking pictures of natural landscapes and architecture. The camera is more than a tool, it is his best friend. He got his own style and you can clearly see it in his pictures. Instagram: salem_0394
30- Salem Alabedi
Salem is a 26-year-old art graduate from Derna, Libya. He started in 2011 with his phone camera to document protests at that time. On 2015, he started professionally. Later on, he started to learn more about editing, angles, and in less than a year, he managed to make great progress. One of the things that inspire him is his city, Derna, and to showcase its beauty to the world. He also enjoys landscapes photography and children as well.
31- Samia Senussi
Samia was born in 1998 in Benghazi. She is currently studying Journalism and publishing in Media school. Her beginnings in photography were in 2011 during the revolution. On 2013, she bought a camera and it is when she took it to the next level. Most of her pictures are outdoor and she is mostly inspired by sunlight. She believes that there is a harmony between the camera and the photographer, it is more than just a click. It is the eye she sees through it the world, it is basically part of her.
32- Seraj Yousef
He is from a family that loves to document everything since he was a little kid. His father used to take pictures in every Eid and family gathering and now when he got older he started to learn and discover how to use the camera. He got his first camera as a gift from his father after he passed his first semester in college. After that, he learned from the internet and it became his source of financial independence. He started to learn videography. Music inspires his to a point when he listens to a song, he begins to imagine videos about the song. He is also inspired by old stories and he wishes if he can change them into a documentary or a short movie one day.
33- Sara Bilghasim
Sarah is a 23-year-old English literature graduate. Her story with photography began when she was only 16. It was easier for her to look at things through a camera lens instead of looking at things directly, it is a form of hiding or escaping. Later on, she began to grasp the technical aspects of photography in terms of lighting, framing, and what have you. She was first inspired by nature and now she is very much inspired by people because there are countless stories to tell through people. We all have a story to tell. She is also inspired by light and how it produces shadows. When I asked her what does the camera mean to her, she replied and I quote ”Cameras are the only tools that capture a supposedly fleeting moment and cement it for life, and besides being incredibly poetic, it’s an incredibly complex tool that engages people in a way nothing else can.” Instagram: sarabilghasim
34- SirajEddin Arrab
Siraj is a medical student at University of Tripoli, Libya. He is a filmmaker and civic activist. He started his journey with photogrpahy in high school with his friends. He used to parkour and at that time, they needed someone to make videos for their work. Thus, he started to learn photography and videography from Youtube and from that point, he started to develop and he learns on a daily basis. He is mostly inspired by travelers and the first videographer who inspired him is the legend Leonardo Dalessandri with his video : Watchtower of Turkey .
35- Rabee Barakat
Rabee is a medical student in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His biography on Twitter says ”I am a medical student who simply loves his camera more than his stethoscope”. He is originally from Misrata, Libya. He has been obsessed with photography since he got his first phone. He has always spent most of my playtime at the backyard observing nature, animals, sand colours, tree shadows and cloud composition in the sky. Then coming back to his mother excitingly to describe to her his perspective hoping that she sees the surrounding as he does. He considers himself as an amateur photographer who sees -and sometimes- makes beauty that he aspires to be understood rather than just seen by viewers. Starting from rom the stories in human faces, the motion of an active animal, the still-life tree leaves and to conceptual symbolism. He is passionate about portrait and conceptual photography. In addition, he writes short stories and essays inspired from social life and human rights. Photography is a lifestyle, not just a hobby. For him, it is an educationa and therupatic process. He also loves to draw and sketch.
Sarah is a 27 years old dentist. Photography is her hobby and ever since she was young, she was considered the family photographer. She started with a digital camera and she kept it as a hobby while traveling but three years ago, she began professionally and she bought a professional camera and she is now taking pictures as a profession. The camera for her is a best friend and her third eye. She is inspired by everything and anything. The moment decides.