Yasser Alaa Mobarak grew up in Alexandria, Egypt. When the Egyptian Revolution started in 2011, he was an eighteen-year-old teenager. “The protest took place in Shatby Station, Alexandria. It called for freedom and social justice. I was keen on documenting the new events taking place in my city which I had never witnessed before. I used my compact camera and mobile phone,” he says.
“I use photography as a tool of self-expression and documentation. Photographer Dorothea Lange said the camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera. I studied photography in the art of seeing school.” Largely self-taught, Mobarak uses a Nikon D3100, 18-55mm and 50mm lens.
Mobarak admires the photography icons American Steven McCurry and Ashraf Talaat, an award-winning Egyptian documentary photographer. “Talaat is my mentor and role model. He taught me how to shoot spontaneous and dynamic images. He inspires me a lot.”
Mobarak now shoots travel photography, portrait, street and abstract works. “Using color or black and white,” he says, “depends on the scene I’m shooting. Sometimes while shooting, you know it should be in black and white. I use black and white when I want to create dramatic images or when there is too much distracting color in the scene.”
He lived in India from 2016-2017 teaching at Delhi College of Photography and shooting travel photography in Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur, Manali and Kullu. “India is the heaven of photographers, you can find rich subjects no matter what type or genre you are shooting. India is very colorful and full of diversity in term of religion, culture and traditions.”
“It’s important to avoid cliché shots in travel photography,” says Mobarak in his Digital Photography School blog. “Before buying my flight ticket to India, I decided to avoid all popular cliché images of India which are pictures of the Taj Mahal, a train window, holy festivals, camels of Pushkar, Rajasthani portraits, and portraits of people with wrinkles. I wanted to shoot something different, I wanted to come back to my country with new frames that aren’t common to viewers eyes.”
The Photographer Magazine notes, “Part of what’s so beautiful about Yasser’s work is his love of colors, interacting with people, and how he is able to capture moments as they happen. He sees light very well but is also able to figure out ways to really just feel the moments he’s about to shoot.”
Mobarak has moved back to Alexandria and is teaching on his own. He recently explored shooting modern architecture in Baku, Azerbaijan. “I include the human element in my architectural images to add dynamic to the image and to show its scale,” he says.
“I teach street and travel photography to mostly college students,” he says. “Whether in India or Egypt, I focus on teaching my students to learn to see.”
—Elizabeth Meade Howard, Art Editor
Share this post with your friends.