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Take 52 Chances 2017 | Fear & Uncertainty

Sometimes I create images that suck, and that’s OK.

I’m falling behind on the 52 Week Project, I’m not gonna sit here and make up excuses though cause all there is to it is bad time management. But because I fall behind, I rush to create something.. which ends up kinda awful.
The last two themes for the 52 Week Project were Fear and Uncertainty. With both themes I was excited to shoot the image I had in mind, I felt like I had a good concept. But then I did shoot them and they ended up.. not as great as I hoped they would be. Wait no, they ended up pretty bad. Don’t worry, I’ll show you.

For Fear, I wanted to create something based on a fear I personally have: being stagnant, being stuck in the same place, being anchored. I hate the thought of not moving forward and staying in the same place. So this is why I created this image:

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Heavy Steps, February 2017

For Uncertainty, I wanted to create something based on this:
Everyday, the question remains. We live in this uncertainty that shields our eyes. We can still see, but it’s all so hazy. Is it better to learn to live with the haze, embrace it, and make it a part of who we are? Or should we fight, kicking and screaming, for clarity?

And it totally sucked. Like.. I’m too embarrassed to even show you, that’s how much it sucked. But the point of the project is to create, not to create master pieces every time right?
So while writing this post, I decided to try and make the image work. It didn’t. So I tried again. And I don’t think it did, and there’s no way any of these will ever make it to a gallery show, but here they are anyway. All three versions. Sometimes, I really really suck haha.

This week’s theme is Paradox, and I’m still brainstorming for it but I think it could be really cool.

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Defeated

I’ve fallen down more times than I can count. I mean both metaphorically and literally; I’m clumsy. When I’m face down on the ground I feel like this is it. This is when I finally admit defeat. This is when gravity is my best friend. This is when I stay down. I feel defeated.

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Defeated, December 2016

So many people feel this way at certain points in their lives, maybe more often than they’d like to admit. And honestly, what I’ve come to realize is that you’ve gotta fall. Time and time again. You’ve gotta fall if you wanna get better. Standing still all the time will get us nowhere. So what if we’re covered with cuts and bruises every now and then? If it means that we get back up, and get better, then it’s worth it.

No matter how often I feel like I just want to wave a huge white flag, admit defeat, and surrender to everything that brings me down, there’s another side of me that is just too stubborn to be defeated.

I know that there are people out there who struggle to get back up, and I know what it’s like to want to stay down.

But please, if you’ve fallen and don’t know how to get up, reach out to someone and get help.
You’re worth it.

p.s. I’m not a professional but if you ever just need someone to talk to, email me.
info@amanialshaali.com

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Take 52 Chances 2017 | Chaos

 

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A Reflection of Imperfection, January 2017

Who knew that smashing mirrors can be so much fun? Sticking up shards of glass with rubber garden gloves, however, is not.

When I chose the theme “chaos”, I knew that I wanted to create something that would reflect inner chaos, and that’s why I chose to use a mirror. Initially, I wanted the broken mirrors to be a little more.. organized. I wanted to create perfect pieces, to represent how sometimes when we fall apart, we try to make it beautiful. We try to fall gracefully.

But as I was breaking the mirrors, I realized how difficult it would be to cut break them the way I want to. And I decided to play around with the placement of the mirrors until I felt like they worked with the theme.

This week’s theme is fears, and I’m SO excited to create something based on that. Ideas are already brewing in my head.

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Take 52 Chances 2017 | Memories

I loved this week’s theme. There were so many images I wanted to create but decided to focus on one.

I want to walk
until the road and I 
become one

I want to go back
but there is no way for me to turn around
I can only go straight from here
I can only hope it gets brighter

The road I paved is mine to walk alone

I wrote that while brainstorming and replaying a specific memory in my head. Two years ago in October, I came back from my month long trip in the United States. Sia’s Chandelier was a big hit and it was playing everywhere, especially in New York; which was my last stop before returning home. It was the first time I travel alone, and for an entire month. Coming back was bittersweet. I remember the first shoot I did after coming back, I went out to shoot alone and while driving to the location, I had Chandelier playing on repeat. The road seemed never ending. I was nostalgic. I felt like I didn’t know how to readjust to my life here. It’s not that I hated being here, but I missed that sense of adventure I had throughout the whole month. Hopping from one plane to the other (10 total!) and meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. I just wanted to go back.

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Wherever I May Wander, January 2017

I also tried to sketch out what I wanted to do before shooting, just to help visualize it better. I’m so bad at sketching but every time I look at it I laugh, so I just had to share it haha.

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Yay for Week 3 of the 52 Week Project! I’m excited to see where this goes 🙂

I’ve created a Facebook group with a bunch of people where I post a new theme every week and we create based on that. I’d love it if more people joined! Leave a comment if you’re interested 🙂

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Take 52 Chances 2017 | Dawn

What was I thinking choosing “dawn” as a theme?

I’ll tell you what I was thinking: my mind is totally blanking out, that means I MUST choose it! I’ll challenge myself!
Yeah.. not the best idea haha. I couldn’t think of what to do and when I did, I did not have time to edit it. I finally did though and it didn’t turn out the way I hoped it would.

I was inspired by a quote that says

Be patient where you sit in the dark, the dawn is coming
– Rumi

And even though a part of me doesn’t want to share this image, I made a commitment and I just wanna show you guys that sometimes.. I kinda suck haha.

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Take 52 Chances 2017 | overcoming

I’ve decided to start a 52 Week Project, and to keep myself motivated I’ve asked some friends to join in and I’m SO excited to get it going. So far, 25 people have joined me! So if you’re interested in being a part of it, please send me a message 😀 the more the merrier.

Last week’s theme was overcoming.

It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do (5 days to be exact), but then when I realized what I wanted to do I shot it and edited it in a day, and I was filled with so much joy. I was reminded of why I’m so in love with fine art photography. It was exhilarating. Yes, I couldn’t get it to look the way it did in my head, but I’m quite happy with the result.

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A Litany For Survival, 2017

So every Sunday we’ll have a new theme, and we have a whole week to create. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be photography, anyone can use any medium they want. Some are writing, some are doing mixed media, and some are doing photography. When I announce the themes, I will also include quotes, pictures, or poems as extra inspiration. The one I posted was this:
“You are not your past. You are the warrior that rose above it to become the example of someone who didn’t survive, but thrived in creating the most beautiful last chapter of their life.”
― Shannon L. Alder

I love that quote. I think overcoming our own fears and blocks is the hardest thing to do, but it’s something I’m determined to do this year. To overcome the negative voices that tell me I should just quit because I’ll never be good enough.
In the words of Sue Bryce: “.. good enough for WHO???

Is there anything that you plan on overcoming this year?

Leave a comment and let me know!

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Two Thousand Sixteen

What a year.

I put a lot of emphasis on portraits and starting my portraits business. I had clients that flew me to Kuwait to photograph them, I went to the US and The Czech Republic, I joined a writing group and have been writing almost everyday (mostly poetry and prose), I fell in love, I relapsed, I got back up, I was one of the 8 local photographers chosen to exhibit in a huge photography exhibition, I photographed Lindsay Lohan, I stopped creating conceptual photography and then got back into it.

Honestly,  I’m a huge mess sometimes. I struggle with discipline and being motivated, despite having the desire to accomplish so much. Sometimes, I manage to get things done and sometimes I don’t.

In 2017, the biggest thing I want to work on is discipline. With that comes lots of goals of course, like exercising regularly, writing, creating (starting a 52 week project!), and reading. And most importantly: being the best version of myself.

What are your goals for 2017? Let me know in the comments 🙂

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Czech Republic | summer 2016

In August, I got the chance to go to the Czech Republic with my family. We went to a town called Karlovy Vary, and it was so beautiful. It’s known for being a spa town, there are spas everywhere. But I didn’t try a single one, because I was enjoying just walking around the place with my sisters. We walked everywhere and I loved it (for those who don’t know, the UAE isn’t very pedestrian friendly and it’s way too hot to walk outside).

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The last image – that’s called a Trdelnik. It’s a Slovakian sweet/pastry that’s made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and walnut mix. Mmm just looking at this picture makes me crave it. I always got mine with chocolate, but you can get whatever filing you want (fruits, white chocolate, caramel, etc).

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I honestly lost track of how many Italian restaurants we ate at. We tried local food, and only my dad and sister enjoyed it. Lots of duck and liver and yeahh.. nothing I’m too thrilled about.

Two days before we were leaving to Prague, I had the itch. You know the one.
I NEEDED to photograph someone, so I looked at Model Mayhem and connected with a model. She was so lovely. She brought a bunch of different props with her, drove me and my sister to a park to shoot and we just had fun with it. I did a few portraits and some fine art pieces.

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It’s been a while since I attempted to create a fine art piece without conceptualizing and planning first, but this is what we ended up with:

To Disappear, August 2016

We left Karlovy Vary to spend a couple of days in Prague, and I fell in love with it.

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We went to the Lego Museum, the Museum of Communism, and a cute little bookstore called Shakespeare. We also went to see the Astronomical Clock, Charles Bridge, and the rotating sculpture of Franz Kafka’s head. All *highly* recommended.

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I don’t know if Karlovy Vary is a place I would want to go to again. It’s beautiful, but besides walking, good food, and coffee.. there’s not much to do. Prague on the other hand.. PLEASE TAKE ME BACK!

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Reviving The Blog

Oh hi. This blog still exists. I didn’t forget about it, I’ve just been.. lost.

Metaphorically speaking of course. I’m still here. I just felt like all this time, I didn’t have anything worth sharing. Which, I now realize, isn’t true. I’ve been to so many new places and met so many incredible people.
In July, I went to the Czech Republic with my family, and I went to the US in September/October for Brooke Shaden’s Promoting Passion convention.

Where, in all of this, did I lose my place?
I don’t even know. I miss doing what I love, I miss creating and I miss connecting with people through my blog. Which is exactly why it needs to come back.
Sometimes, I’m riddled with insecurities. I tell myself that I don’t have anything to share, and who wants to read my blog posts anyway? And what value does this add to the world? A 25 year old girl constantly talking about sad stuff. Boohoo.

Needless to say, I’ve been pretty hard on myself. Don’t get me wrong, there have been ups and downs. The ups were, and still are, amazing. I fell in love and I fell apart. But that’s life right? This constant battle between what’s real and what isn’t? Between highs and lows. Between darkness and light. Between hope and despair.

 

What you just heard is a poem by Joel McKerrow, an Australian poet and overall amazing human being I had the pleasure of meeting during PPC2016. I attended Joel’s workshop, and one of the exercises he asked us to do was to write down the headings of chapters of the book of our lives. I wrote mine and shared it with him, and he wrote this poem about me/my chapter headings. I still can’t get over how incredible that is.

The past few months, I focused so much on starting a portrait business, and I forgot why I fell in love with photography in the first place. Conceptual fine art photography is what I love the most, and I stopped doing it. I’ve always been the kind of person who can’t balance too many things at once. If I’m working on something I want to give it all my attention. I don’t think that’s always a good thing, because I tend to leave everything else behind. Like if I discover a new book and I’m in love with it.. I could read for hours and forget about everything else that I need to do.

So with this year ending soon, I want to find that balance. I want to remember why I fell in love with photography. I need to create.. because creating is what I live for.

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Wasted Time, October 2016

I created this image when I was in Nebraska – I was inspired by a conversation I had with my therapist. She said that it seems like I’m getting better, but I’m stuck between wanting to move forward and wanting to stay in a dark place because it’s comfortable.

I’ve got so many blog posts planned out. I can’t wait to show you guys pictures from The Czech Republic and the United States.
What have you guys been up to? Tell me I wanna know 😀 feel free to ramble. I miss you guys.