After making their first move to the Middle East in 2017, PUMA immediately stepped into the region’s young creative scene. The sportswear giant recruited some of the coolest kids, who, despite their different backgrounds, came together to create the Suede Guerrillas (the eclectic self-styled street crew behind the brand’s latest campaigns).
Among them is Omani photographer—, and curly-hair enthusiast— Fatma Al Bakry, DJ & producer Nnamdi Eluwah, French-Iranian it-girl Parvané Barret, and photographer and skateboarder Conor Rycroft. And today, the Suede Guerrilas add another member to their list—Saudi photographer Abdulrahman Abdullah, who has previously collaborated with PUMA for a video shot entirely in his home city of Riyadh.
We caught up with Abdullah to talk about his early days as a photographer, Saudi Arabia, and joining the Suede Guerrillas.
How did you get into photography?
Creating visuals has always been the backbone of my work. Over and above being interested in photography, I have always been invested in experimenting with mediums of creation. Thinking about where it all started, my memory takes me back to being a child, over 20 years ago when I used to sneak up to my parent’s room to borrow my father’s vintage film camera to take pictures of cats and my younger siblings.
Eventually, I made the decision to study architecture as a base for my future work, only to find that it widened my scope of thoughts of what can be achieved with visuals. One thing led to another, and I decided to have my own professional camera and try to make a leap in photographic communication.
Saudi Arabia has left a mark on your work. In what ways does it inspire you?
What really inspires me is the location, Riyadh in particular is quite fascinating in terms of architecture. The vast, horizontal expanse leaves amazing places untouched by development, which I believe in highlighting, but in order to appeal to the mainstream, I believe the human element adds a soul to still photographic communications. Nevertheless, the spoken architectural identity of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia changes rapidly, which makes for more possibilities and achievable ideas.
Tell us a bit about the video you shot for PUMA. What was the inspiration behind it?
We wanted to highlight our city, our urban vibe and style of living. I also wanted to feature great minds in the process by having a creative group in the video. I worked with a great team. Each individual contributed amazingly to the creation of this video, to the livelihood of Riyadh, whilst also presenting PUMA in the most beautiful way possible.