1. Welcome Fadwa to The Influx Gallery family. Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are from?
I am an industrial Engineer born and raised in a village called Isfiya on mount Carmel, I went to school and collage in Haifa and currenly I live in Bethlehem.
2. Were your family supportive of you deciding to become a photographic artist?
I follow my own course in life. Me and my husband who is a filmmaker share the same passion for photography and art , our continues conversations about different expressive meduims was a main drive in my photographic experimental efforts
3. Was there anything specific that you can remember that made you want to become an artist?
In fact I don’t practice art or photography as a career but I may repeat here my statement about my photographic experience :
Since a young age the camera became my everlasting companion, the third eye that helped me apprehend my complex reality, in a region that is constantly in turmoil. With the time you realize that the human eye is too narrow to contain the overwhelming nature of life. Sometimes I feel that my whole photographic experience is just an echo to a deep urge to visualize my inherent trauma as a woman and as Palestinian.
Nonetheless, recently I have been more engaged in my art and less occupied with my main career.
4. Did your schooling or work affect your creative development in any way?
I think that my background as an industrial engineer and my presence in labor intensive industries, either in my homeland or in other countries like Egypt and Romania made me more conscious and curious about the whole human experience, and it always left me with introspective questions, about my path in life and my career.
In order to enhance my photographic skills I took a break from work and spent a few months in Florence, where I had a short course in photography for beginners. I had also graduated from a 1 year program in Phototherapy, which is about the use of photography as a therapeutic tool in psychological treatments. Phototherapy is not at all about the techniques of taking photos; however it gives a very interesting and profound insight on the power of the camera to delve into the human soul and to create images that can touch the innermost emotions of the photographer, the persons in the photo, and the spectator.
5. When did you first discover photography?
My late father was an electronic technician and was always fond of every new invention.He used to move with a camera , but never as a professional, he simply liked capturing family events in every stage of our life. In my parents home there is still a dedicated space for old cameras, and for old photo albums of black and white and vintage colors. So I had access to a camera since a very young age.
6. Your photographic style is dreamy, ethereal and comprises a totally unique take on fine art street photography? Did you deliberatlly set out to develop your own unique style?
I think it is my own mode of expression, vague images either in writing or in photography. For me both mediums are just a way to contemplate my relationship with my homeland, and it is often very emotional and confusing, mixed feelings of attachment and alienation, where the tragic reality of the region prevails, and its history haunts the scene. It feels as if the infinate enigma of time is sparked by the powerful presence of the past and its reverberations on the place, on its people and its visitors. While photography is all about freezing a moment in time ,here it seems as if the time floats between the past and the present, as if all its tensed are interwined and its multilayered nature is intensified.
It was always very challenging for me to seize this vision in a frame, and to convey it in my straightforward documentary photos. That’s why I found myself engaged in ongoing photographic experiments seeking new perspectives and non traditional forms to portray the scene and its shadows in my mind and soul. The outcome was usually perplexing and obscure multilayered compositions that just reflect my existential dilemmas.
Indeed I was very deliberate in developing my techniques, but was never aware that by doing so I was developing my own photographic style and effects.
7. Do you have a favourite piece of work or photographic series?
I feel attached to every photo I take, to my reflection in that instant of time. It is difficult for me to delete any of my photos. Each of my themes, whether landscape, documentary or fine art, represents a sentiment and a dimension in my consciousness and has its own value in the whole meaning of my being.
8. Could you give us a little teaser as to the process that enables you to create such timeless and unique photographic art. Do you set out with a preconceived vision, or does your creative process grow organically and unconsciously, as you journey with your camera?
I often take my camera and go to take photos with just the main thrill of being there in the right light and in the decisive moment , without really having any preconcieved vision of how I am going to make it. But useually I just free myself from the common photography practices and take the time to explore new techniques and to capture the scene with different settings
Many might assume that I use multiple exposure or merge photos in post processing which sometimes i do, but rarely. My photographic practices relay to large extent on moving the camera or the zoom lens in long exposure shots. In such excercises I never really know what effectsI am creating. But i feel that I have developed some sense of how to move the lens and in which settings, in order to manipulate the scene in a way that can express my impressions, my concept and all the associations that it triggers in me.
9. Where do you get your inspiration and influences from?
In the world of today its difficult to point to one source of inspiration, there is a large variety of artworks in the enternet that it can be even confusing and distracting, but yet astounding and enriching. Indeed one must train the eye to make the right filters. I post my work on platforms like 1X and artlimited , also here on Influx gallery , where you can follow the work of many great artists and photographers, from different genres. It is facsination to see the different visions of photographers and how this affects their techniques and the way they depict or reflect their landscape and surroundings, how very often the same scene can be visualized in so many different ways according to the photographer vision and perspective.
Personally even though my own work is very different from Diann Arbus’s, I was deeply moved by her images. Her photography could be concieved as invasive, it could highlight what others may deem as an intrusive aspect of street photography ,but the lens is like a telescope. I think in her case it was merely a way to understand the human nature or maybe to express her own inner struggles and conflict. I was also inspired by her continues search for the odd and the unconventional , and by her ability to challenge triviality and to create photos that are painful and shocking, because I do believe that the photograph should be able to shake our certitude.
10. Do you have any tips for any inspiring digital artist/photographer who is using software, or picking up a camera for the first time?
I think one should learn the basic photography and editing techniques, but should be really daring to go beyond , to experiment in different lights and settings and examine his talent and performance in various photography genres. Our passion is sometimes hidden and it needs a lot effort to be explored.
Making constant visits to different photography platforms can be a great education for the photographer’s eye and a source of endless inspiration.