"My style of photography can best be described as observational and non-intrusive. I dont try to change or move anything in the space that has inspired me to take a photograph. I try to capture the emotion and joy of the moment. Ever since i was a child i have gravitated towards beauty. I love life, people, nature... and to capture the true placidity of our existence is what drives my interest and passion for photography. It’s interesting to note that I am a trained medical doctor and a self-taught artist, which makes my journey towards my chosen profession of photography quite interesting. I think subconsciously, my interest in this medium was always there, as I can’t recall any time in my life when I did not have not have a camera with me. Even as a child, I had a fascination with photography. I used to prefer to shoot with black and white film, and my choice of subjects was also strikingly similar to my current work, in which light, shadow, architecture and its relationship to the surrounding space play a pivotal role. In retrospect, another peculiar observation was that unlike most amateur photographers who tend to use photography to capture subjects like family, I was never drawn to people as a subject—my interests were more abstract. My work resonates with my life principles and is a strong depiction of myself as an individual. This medium has given me a way to express myself and to showcase the world through my eyes… full of love, happiness, and serenity. The one thing that inspires me most in my work is ‘light’. I love the way light can change the feel and perspective of something simple and mundane into something extraordinary and magical.
Man-made environment and the relation of human beings to their surroundings is a common theme in my photography. My work is heavily influenced from my scientific education. The human mind fascinates me. Every human being is different—each has a different way of perceiving and relating to their environment, and much of this perception is controlled by the human mind. In my work, I try to explore the intricacies of the human mind by choosing abstract subjects. I see pictures before I take them. Every photographer at one point in time will tell you that they start experiencing this for themselves, and then it becomes very clear what they want to choose as their subject. In many ways, I’ve tried to pinpoint my subject through my mindset. I like peaceful situations, everyday situations—nobody is even aware that there is a photographer around. I don’t try to change the environment I find myself in. What prompts me to take a picture is the natural rhythm of life and light...I think the reason why I gravitate towards architectural photography is because modern architecture plays with lines and light in a way that creates shadows and symmetry.
My approach is about self-discovery and my work pertains to the individual’s experience—hence, the narrative I build in my work is universal. People in this world share common traits and perspectives about the world at large. Therefore, I believe people all over the world can identify with the ideas and concepts I bring forth through my work. When I travel to other countries, I get a chance to observe and compare different viewpoints and perspectives. A lot of my visual experiences are in terms of the cultural differences I observe, which inadvertently plays a role in the concepts I develop. So in a way, my work is a cross-cultural study."


Maryam Arif