June 2010

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In this archive we meet Azizi Ahmad.  At just 26 years old he has relocated to Libya from Malaysia with the view of making it his home for five to ten years.  Having lived here for less than six months, his impressions of Libya are vivid and fresh.  Azizi is the newest member of our growing family of contributors to ‘Look Out Libya’.

Tell us about yourself Azizi, what brings you to Libya?  I grew up in Malaysia.  Before relocating to Libya I had only ever travelled to Asian countries. This is the furthest journey I have ever made.  I love to travel and my passion is photo-journalism with particular emphasis on culture.  Professionally, I hold a petroleum degree.  After some time working in Malaysia I was offered a position here in Libya.

What are your impressions of your working life in Libya?  

I have had to adapt to the differences in working life here but I feel as though I have done so.  The working hours and attitudes are totally different from my previous experiences.

How have you made friends?  So far I only have a few Libyan and Malaysian people working in my office, so I can say that I have so little friends here. Aside from that I am part of the Malaysian community here and meet with them regularly.   Working on several projects I have been exposed to professionals from many countries; the Philippines, Morocco, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan, China and Egypt to name a few.  These are mostly work contacts though, not friendships.  One of the reasons why I am keen to join the team at Look Out Libya is so that I might meet new people.

What are your main leisure activities in Libya? Hmmm …. Working from 8.30 to 17.00 from Saturday to Thursday, with only one day off restricts the amount of activities I can do.  I play Futsal (football played on a smaller pitch) every Friday in Siraj, but to kill the time here I try to spend two to three days per week photographing as much as I can about Libyan culture and architecture.

What has been the most difficult thing about settling here?  Language barriers and different attitudes, particularly on the road!  One thing I have not been able to find so far is a quality photo printer specializing in custom albums.  I love to create albums and have them printed.

What has surprised you about Libya? I wasn’t really exposed to Libya before and so I didn’t know a lot about the country or what to expect.  I felt that relocating to Libya was a chance for me to advance my career, and also provide a new platform for my photography.

My first vivid impression of Tripoli was the airport as I arrived. I was surprised to find the airport was full of people smoking.  It was interesting to see the Arabic signage and the people in the airport – the different clothes, hats and people that were there.  Immigration was also a new experience!   On the journey from the airport into town I was fascinated with the buildings and posters along the way.  My eyes were drawn to the architecture here, and the historical, vintage 60s and 70s feel.

On another point, I have to say the public toilets here also surprised me.  No further comment!

You join the Look Out Libya team as a photographer.  Tell us about your photography.  What inspires you?

I first bought a digital SLR back in 2007.  At that time I would set it to Auto, click and shoot.  It wasn’t until a year later when a neighbour asked me to shoot his daughter’s wedding that I started to research how to use my camera and I have been experimenting with it ever since.  I still don’t understand the technicalities of my camera.  I’m drawn to shoot photographs from the heart and I love to capture people and faces.  I am a Canon user and only ever keep two lenses in my bag, my favourite being my 50 mm.

After photographing my first wedding, I covered another seven in Malaysia.  Photographing a wedding was my first paid job.  My technique has been built through experience and mentoring rather than through technical study.  I was fortunate enough to have been mentored by a Malaysian wedding photographer, Shahril Mustapha.  He is a small player in the wedding photography business but was very generous in his time with me.

Since then, I have developed my passion for photojournalism and love to tell a story through the images I capture.

Apart from your work on Look Out Libya, how can people view your photography?  Can people buy your images? Anyone who is interested in seeing more of my work is welcome to view my images in my blog: http://aziziahmad.myshutterbugz.com or add me as a friend in Facebook.  If you find me in Facebook and want to add me, make sure you send me a message so I know the friend request is not spam.

My images are not for sale as such, as I am not sure of my skill level.  I will let my pictures do the talking!  I always enjoy the opportunity to photo graph new faces and welcome anyone who is interested in a portrait shot.  I may even offer a few free sessions to get the ball rolling!

Thanks Azizi and welcome to the team!

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