Note: This is the fifth in a series of six stories that are being done by participants of the HooHaa Holga Challenge. The rest will run through Friday. See information for the rest at the bottom of this post.
By Nada AlMarshad
My love for medium format photography began when I purchased my Holga back in early 2009.
I didn’t know much about film photography back then, and getting a toy camera felt right at the time. I instantly fell in love with this camera the minute I held it in my hands, and grew to appreciate it even more since then.
All of my favorite photos that I have taken over the years had one thing in common — they were taken with a Holga! The nature of this camera gave me room to experiment with film and techniques without being afraid to ruin it.
I used to be an avid photographer, always trying different styles of photography until I found the ones that suited me best. That was until I started university in late 2009.
I enrolled in Kuwait University’s civil engineering program, a very demanding major that requires a lot of hard work and dedication (even sleepless nights at times!) School took most, if not all, of my time.
Two years went by and I felt like I wasn’t improving as a photographer. I started to lose interest in photography all together, until the end of 2011. I read a quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson (my hero!) and it stuck with me forever.
He said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
It all made sense to me.
I made it my goal to challenge myself as a photographer this year, and take whatever opportunity presented to me to try something new, and just keep taking pictures. Naturally, this challenge was perfect to me. Another reason I decided to do this challenge is to re-discover the beauty of my own town, something that I desperately needed in the midst of the political chaos my country is going through.
I’m mostly used to taking photos when I’m abroad, since it’s easier to snap pictures of people when you’re a tourist. Carrying my Holga with me wherever I go and taking it out whenever I see something interesting and worth capturing was a challenge by itself, since people here are a tiny bit sensitive about having their pictures taken by a complete stranger, which I totally understand.
Another one of the difficulties was using 400ISO film. I usually work with either 100, 160, or 200 ISO film. Fast films (+400 ISO) will always result in overly-exposed frames, since it’s almost always sunny outside.
Now, back to my home town.
Kuwait City is the heart of this country. All together, Kuwait is roughly about the size of the state of New Jersey — 17,820 km to be precise.
Kuwait City occupies about 200 km of the area. That’s about 1.12% of the country, so you can imagine how tiny it is!
From the famous Kuwait Towers, to the Seif Palace, to theNational Museum, to the tallest sculpted tower in the world (Al Hamra Tower, that is), Kuwait City is home to most of the country’s landmarks.
What I love most about Kuwait City is the mix of the old and the new, which is greatly reflected in the architecture.
You have high-rise buildings at one side of the city, and the old souks at the other, and somehow the two blend so well together.
I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them, even though I know they won’t do this beautiful city any justice.
More images from Nada’s challenge are below:
See more of Nada on the web:
- Shoot-Film (contributing writer)
HooHaa Holga Challenge:
- Day 1: Totness, England
- Day 2: Waco, Texas
- Day 3: Geneva, Switzerland
- Day 4: Seattle, Washington
Day six of the HooHaa Holga Challenge is Thursday, with P.J. and Delhi, N.Y.