For 23-year-old Omani photographer Tariq Al Hajri, photography is about capturing a personal and subjective reality. “If everyone is standing in front of the Eiffel tower taking pictures, each picture will still be different”, he explains before adding, “a picture is a point of view”. Currently based in Louisiana, Al Hajri has chosen the medium of film photography to express himself. Through this series of intimate portraits, Al Hajra recalls his memories of boyhood in his home country.
Spending the summer in Oman, Al Hajri decided to observe the day-to-day routines of his young cousins in Sur, a coastal town in Oman. “They go to the beach every day. The first thing they do is dig holes to find worms. Then, they play a game that is similar to baseball behind the local mosque. After lunch, they swim and then they hang out around the boats and fish using the worms they found in the morning. Later, they sell the fishes to an Indian restaurant and buy snacks with the money. They end their day at the beach, eating their snacks, waiting for the sunset”, says Al Hajri, unpacking his photos.
But despite shedding light on blissful moments of boyhood, the inspiration behind this project is sadly dark. “I lost a cousin in a tragic bike accident back in 2012, a summer we had all hung out together”, he says of this series. A stark reminder that his key motivation was to reminisce about his hazy summer memories, growing up as a boy in Oman.
Inherently, the past is what inspires Al Hajri; and by retrospectively looking at his life through his photography, Al Hajri has been able to relive some of the best moments of his life. “I shot these pictures during sunset because it was my favourite time of the day”, he says.