World through the lenses of people of determination

The Special Photographers group was created back in 2012 by Asateer Events. The upcoming exhibition is the fourth for the team.

A deep contrast depiction of desert landscape, chiaroscuro or light and shade effect at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, animal life at Al Ain Zoo and flamingos at Ras Al Khor.

These are just some of the photos that will be on display at the ‘special exhibition’ titled ‘The World Through Our Eyes’ by a group of photographers of determination on Thursday at the Gallery of Light, Ductac, The Mall of the Emirates, ahead of the World Down Syndrome Day on March 21.

The lensmen – some of them are graduates of Rashid Centre for the Determined Ones – are Emiratis Mohamed Bakheet, 19, and Faris Eissa, 17; Iraqi expat Ali Al Ameri, 17, and Bahraini national Mohamed Yehia, 22. They are born with Down syndrome (DNS) and members of the group called ‘Special Photographers’ (SP), trained by Egyptian photographer Mohamed Younes, who is also the director of Asateer Events.

“We are a group of people of determination who have a strong passion in photography. We capture any beautiful and special thing. We take our cameras on all our trips to document the special moments,” the group said.

“We have participated in many photo exhibitions and received prizes from our participation in local competitions. We had extensive training for a long time to improve our skills and abilities,” they added.

The Special Photographers group was created back in 2012 by Asateer Events. The upcoming exhibition is the fourth for the team.

“The art of photography is not limited to professional lenses and professional photographers. That is why we worked to create the “Special Photographers” team for people of determination to be their first step of integration into society,” Younes said.

He told Khaleej Times it was quite difficult at first to teach them photography. “We started with the regular point and shoot camera. They then learned correct framing and they really have a knack to present their subjects creatively. From point and shoot cameras, they bought standard DSLR cameras and now are sporting some of the top of the line professional cameras like Nikon D4S and Canon 5D Mark III,” Younes added.

“This (upcoming) exhibition is a shift from talent to professionalism. There will also be a free photography course on the same day for those who are interested in learning photography from the people of determination.”

The parents are equally proud of their sons. The mother of Faris said: “My son has changed a lot since he joined SP. We noticed his passion in photography when he was 13 years old and Younes helped him improving his talent and today Faris can take photos similar to professional photographers.”

Aside from UAE locations, Faris has also captured photos during his trips abroad to the UK, Switzerland and Germany. He has received many prizes such as the Sheikha Latifa Award in Light Photography.


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