“It was always my dream to be where I am now”, confesses 25-year-old Syrian photographer Amer Mohamad, who moved to Moscow during the war to study architecture. As a self-proclaimed “emo teenager”, Mohamad recalls printing out photos of models and sticking them all over his bedroom walls, hoping he could one day carve out a career behind the lens.
10 years later, having quickly secured his place in Moscow’s competitive fashion industry, Mohamad proudly affirms the irony that some of the girls he used to have on his walls have now become close friends.
Boldly embracing a digital aesthetic, Mohamad challenges the conventional confines of fashion photography with his subtly lustful, uninhibited and brightly coloured photographs, which explore and tackle themes like sexuality, gender and the boundaries of intimacy we are forced to embrace. “I like to have fun with models, encouraging them to try new ways of expression”, he says. Playing with the infinite possibilities of fashion photography to influence ideas, behaviors and beliefs, Mohamad’s pictures have the unique ability to appear erotic and elegant whilst still politically charged. And despite moving to a foreign country as a young Syrian artist (which, in today’s climate, isn’t an easy feat) he’s defiant that it worked in his favour: “it has worked for me to not be Russian doing what I’m doing”, he assuresFinding your feet in fashion can be challenging and stressful (particularly when you’re away from home), so we asked Mohamad to share some top tips to making it in a country that’s far away from home.
1. Never forget where you come from, embrace your past and use it to write your future.
2. Always question where you are at the moment, and if what you’re doing is good. If you’re always satisfied about your work, it means you’re going no further.
3. Try to get out of your comfort zone: shoot with different lights, try different locations and always be open for an experiment in your commercial or self-art.
4. Always avoid fights with the team on shoot, talk it out after the shoot. 5. Focus on one direction in photography and try nailing it to the max instead of being lost trying to figure out everything. A lot of photographers get lost in between wedding, documentary, street, fashion and still life photography. If you’re doing good at one direction, then own it .
6.Accept criticism. Not everyone will like your work, and that’s totally normal!
7. Trust your vision, even when they will say they want something else. They came for your vision not for the something else. It’s okay to say no.