Bahraini Photographer and Graphic Designer born and raised in Dubai by the name of Ali Al Shehabi shares his journey on how he started photography.

Introduce yourself?

My name is Ali Al Shehabi, I’m a 22 years old Bahraini who has lived in Dubai for 21 years and studied abroad in Tokyo for a year & I’m a photographer & graphic designer.

How did you get into film photography/What drew you into film photography?

I got into photography in general in February 2016 after suffering from a major soccer accident that left me pretty disabled for about 2 months. During my recovery period, I would use up my time to browse the internet & look at websites such as Flickr/Tumblr/Instagram etc. That’s when I started seeing a lot of other people’s works & got the inspiration to pursue it. During the summer of 2016, I found my mother’s storage of various items she has from her earlier years & happened to stumble upon 3 film cameras from 1980’s-1990’s that work. That’s when I started getting into film photography.

What you want your viewers to take from your work?

What I would want for people that see my photos is to wonder what happened at that moment I took the photo & to understand the visuals of my thought process.

Who are some of your favorite film photographers & how did they influence me?

Some of my favorite film photographer would be Daido Moriyama, Osamu Yokonami, Mohammed Kindy, Cheb Moha, Ren Hang & more. They influence me in different ways with their various styles. There’s always room for improvement & learning.

What are some of your favorite books on film photography – why do you love them?

Some of my favorite books on film photography are Daido Moriyama’s In Color: Now, And Never Again & The World Through My Eyes. As well as Nobuyoshi Araki’s Love & Death. What I love about them is every image had an impact at me. I would try to imagine that specific moment of a photo & it makes things dreamy.

When you are out shooting – how much is instinctual versus planned?

Well, when I am shooting places it’s very instinctual, I just go out & explore & take a lot of photos of places & life around. taking photos of people, the idea is planned but sometimes more ideas appear into my head during the shoot & I go on about it to produce more results.

Which camera do I use & which camera I would love to own?

I use a Yashica fx-3 super2000 SLR & a Olympus mju point & shoot both in 35mm format. A camera I would love to own would be a Leica M3. It’s a masterpiece of many traits.

 Tell us about your zine life in Tokyo just a dream?

The self-made zine I had just published ” Life in Tokyo: Just a Dream ” is a title that speaks for itself. During the 1 year I had spent there, it’s how I felt about the city & my life there. It’s a collection of very important photos with a story behind them & a series of captions or words I had added to make it very sentimental to me. I’m very happy about it.

 How has social media played a role in my photography?

Social media has been the biggest influence to my work. I got to meet a lot of great people through it. who inspire me & motivate me their generous support to keep doing my best & better. As well as helped get out there in terms of slow & steady recognition, work with others & continue to work on projects or collaborations.

 What are some tips/advice I would give to others who started or want to start photography?

 The very few things I can say to people who want to get on with photography is that to always have an eye for surrounding, to keep thinking of ideas, let them blossom into visuals, to go out & explore & keep experimenting with different styles of photography.

Ali has also displayed and showcased his work in 3 exhibitions at:

  • January 2017 – in Tokyo, Daikanyama, The Lodge Room (solo)


  • March 2017 – photos featured at Ohio State University, America for the Arab Art & Culture Festival


  • April 2017 – for Adidas BYND72 at Dubai Design District (solo)


To check out more of his work you can connect with him at:



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