UAE students learn pinhole photography in nature reserve

Fatima Bint Hazza Cultural Foundation’s ‘Youthful Perspective’ has photographer Steve Macleod teaching 100 pupils

Abu Dhabi: Fatima Bint Hazza Cultural Foundation launched the ‘Youthful Perspective’ initiative, which had 100 students joining photographer Steve Macleod to learn non-conventional photography at Al Wathba Natural Reserve, on Friday.


Students from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain and Kalba participated in the initiative, which aims to stimulate their interest in art, literature, photography, and other fields in non-conventional ways.

The first workshop was about teaching students how to create their own pinhole cameras using shoeboxes and aluminium from soft drink cans.

Maysoon Barber, the foundation’s executive director, said: “[The foundation] responds to a pressing need for the youth, and continues to offer initiatives that are non-traditional and outside-the-box always. We could have organised regular photography workshops, but what’s new about that? When we ask students to capture their favourite scene holding up shoeboxes, we’d have succeeded in creating a disruption in their lives and an invitation to interact with what is different.”

Barber added: “The foundation constructed the dark room to process films in the desert! Who does that? I truly believe this initiative is a true representation for creativity, innovation and a motivation for the youth to engage and push away from comfort zones.”

Steve Macleod, professor of photography and director and trustee at Queen Elizabeth scholarship, said: “Taking pictures is a very normal practice. Everyone clicks photos on their cell phones, cameras, etc. But I think the really interesting part lies in the process! Teaching students how to use chemicals to treat pictures is much more engaging that taking the picture itself.”

The initiative is part of the foundation’s Big Canvas, which incorporates providing out-scaled surfaces for students in painting, photography, and other fields.

The second workshop in the Wathba reserve is on October 26.

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