Ghosia Ahmed - Owner of Damask Photography

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Q&A with Ghosia Ahmed

Tell me a bit about yourself, your background and where you are from.

I’ve grown up and lived in Hertfordshire most of my life, and I do love it here. Growing up, I was very curious about everything and had little tolerance for boredom, so I would always seek new things to explore and learn, or just simply stare out of the window and daydream. I have always been independent and intrinsically motivated and would say that I’m smart and naïve at the same time.

Art, design and creativity were always my passion since I can remember and being artistic was almost my identity in school and amongst people I knew – it’s what I was always praised for. I studied Art and Design until my A-levels and achieved great results, then – for some bizarre reason that I still haven’t been able to figure out – I decided to leave all that behind and pursue a degree in Information Technology at university.

What led you to pursue photography?

After a few months into my IT degree in 2006, I started to feel incomplete and uncomfortable, as if something was missing from my life. Although, at that time I wasn’t fully mindful about it, subconsciously I realised that I was creatively deprived and having an identity crisis, so I started seeking something creative to focus on. I came across a website called Flickr where I would spend hours and hours each day clicking through and admiring photographs by various photographers. Flickr gave me an enormous amount of inspiration, so I quickly signed-up, (permanently) borrowed my sister’s Sony point-and-shoot camera and started to experiment with taking photos.  I played around with all of the settings on the camera, experimented with light, angles and composition, and took photos of absolutely anything from buildings in London to jewellery in my bedroom. Photography and Flickr became my new obsession!

My Flickr account is still (a)live here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ghosia/

How did you learn what you know today about photography and how did you know you wanted to do weddings?

Being a creative person, I don’t really like being taught or ‘shown’ things; I’d rather struggle and ‘see’ them for myself – it’s much more fun and rewarding. I love learning by exploring and experimenting, and discovering new things through trial and error – that’s how I’ve pretty much learned everything that I know about photography. I’ve been my own teacher, I guess.

Becoming a wedding photographer wasn’t even something I’d dare to imagine in the first few years of pursuing photography – I couldn’t even take photos of anything that moved! It was around 2010 when I decided to take my photography to the next level and purchased my first DSLR camera. Through lots of practice, my photography skills started to improve and I began to develop my own style. It was at that time a friend requested that I photograph her wedding at the registry office and I hesitantly agreed. I shared those photos online and surprisingly received lots of positive feedback, and at that point another friend encouraged me to approach and shadow a professional wedding photographer. I did that for a few events, gained a bit of experience and then decided to dive into the deep end, alone.

Have you learnt anything from your job that you didn’t expect?

Yes, I’ve definitely learned a lot about myself and my abilities and I’ve also learned to trust myself more. Through photography I’ve realised how exceptional creativity is – it’s a very special gift that God has given me and I feel it’s a blessing being in a position where I can experience and appreciate it.

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DSC_2076What do you love the most about your job?

Being able to enjoy what I do is very important to me so I think being in a position where my passion is my work – it’s an incredible feeling. I have a lot of creative freedom and so I immerse myself into my work and learn something new from every shoot – I get to be my own teacher, create my own style and build something of my own. Also, through my work I’ve met some amazing people and many of my brides are now my good friends. So, I get the opportunity to learn, grow, achieve and enjoy myself – that’s what I love the most!

Where do you find inspiration?

I think a huge source of inspiration are my clients – brides who ‘choose’ and trust me to document their special day. Wanting to do great work and achieve things motivates me.

In my early days of wedding photography, I used to find inspiration from the works of other well-established wedding photographers in the industry, but that doesn’t really do it for me anymore. I think once I developed my own style and became comfortable with it, I gained more confidence in myself and so much of my inspiration now comes from within, it’s intrinsic.  Amazing ideas might come to me when I’m driving alone, sitting in a coffee shop, in the middle of a deep intellectual conversation, interacting with like-minded people, going through my old work and realising how far I’ve come, or, just randomly at 3am! Yet, sometimes I go weeks without having any good ideas or inspiration. So it can be quite inconsistent and spontaneous – it’s all a part of the game, I suppose.

Any advice for those wanting to follow a creative path?

Though I feel like I’m still a student myself and always want to be learning and growing, I’ve had quite an eventful journey so far which has taught me many important lessons. So, based on my experience I would give the following advice:

  • Sometimes creativity requires a lot of courage, self-belief and to go against norms and what society expects from you – don’t let that deter you.
  • Have a clear idea about what you want to specialise in and don’t dilute it – this will help you to set specific goals and stay focused.
  • Be authentic. Results can be mimicked, but not creativity, so don’t compete, compare or impersonate anyone. Be imaginative and create your own style as it will empower you and set you apart from others. Use your unique gift from God!
  • A lot of patience, perseverance and hard work are required, particularly in the early years – don’t expect to succeed overnight.
  • Work for free, it’s a great opportunity to learn, experiment and develop your own style when building a portfolio, without being under the pressure that comes with paid work.
  • Learn something from every experience, particularly the bad ones, they’re great teachers in disguise.
  • Enjoy it – creative freedom is one of greatest pleasures in life.

 

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” ― Rumi

 

Find Ghosia’s portfolio at http://www.damaskphotography.co.uk