Journey through the Lens of Sara Russell

When I saw the images from “Another Day” (images from Palestine) photo exhibit by Sara Russell, I was moved as if on a journey through the lens of a camera. It also gave me an insight into how Sara saw Palestine, a group of people “unable to move freely” (as she says) and it was as if, she wanted to give them that necessary movement by capturing their lives in the still shots that moved from Palestine to the UK. Sara is a talent on a mission. Here is my interview with the woman behind the lens of the camera that moved me and I am sure, the world.
When did you decide that photography is your niche?
My first fascination with documenting life moments was when I was in my teens. I took a camcorder with me everywhere and documented the moments I thought were worth recording, usually the mundane to the amusing. I would film something each and every day, it was my way of keeping a diary too! I never imagined myself to ever take up photography as a profession though I always had a passion to channel my creativity through the arts, using different mediums such as painting and writing. I went to Art College after I finished secondary school and one of our subjects was photography. We developed photos in a dark room. Some years later, I found a passion in taking snap shots with my mobile phone and using editing apps to apply effects. About three years ago, I took up a one-year advanced level course in photography. During this time, I invested much of my days and nights, taking and editing photos at every opportunity! I am a full time documentary photographer now. I cover big events for various organisations and work as a freelance wedding photographer.
Palestine. copyright Sara Russell

How do you incorpoate Islam into photography? 

Islam teaches us the very principles of maintaining the balance and  we are tested by the opposites, we learn to appreciate the way light and darkness create dimensions that manifest much beauty, evoking an expansion of gratitude. Photographs instigate feelings, they transcend beyond just a frozen moment in time, they continue to inspire us. Many special moments are remembered with ‘SubhanAllah’ and ‘MashAllah!’ It is vital to be honest, dedicated and an ambitious learner. It is important to be corageous when facing new challenges by facing our fears head on. Being commited to my work has taught and reminded me of what it means to submit to His guidance and what it means to observe and appreciate the beauty in the stillness of every emotion (energy in motion). Art is a form of expression and allows us to challenge and manage ourselves through the observance of creativity. Such is the act of prayer, of submission to remembrance. Islam is a religion of love and peace, without such connection, we cannot find true success in our designated work.

What was it like photographing in Palestine? 

The journey through Palestine was a life changing experience. The hostility lingered strife, but the Palestinians showed me hospitality and strength. Visiting Al Aqsa felt very surreal.  I went with an official delegation to document the trip. In between scheduled meetings, I took photographs of what caught my eye and upon my return, I exhibited a set of photographs entitled, ‘Another Day.’

Palestine. copyright Sarah Russell
Palestine. copyright Sara Russell

Any upcoming projects we should look out for?

I have recently started painting again and have been planning to start a series of canvases using mixed media.  At some point in the near future, I plan on travelling to Iran to explore the different towns and cities, to see their culture and architecture. There is no other better place to explore wonders in than Iran!

What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?

For anyone aspiring to take up photography, my advice would be to keep taking photographs and know that the only way to learn is through trial and error so let your passion and love guide you and remember the most expensive camera on the market will not make you a professional photographer, but having a good eye is most important. A skillful photographer is a master of light, so the basic function of the camera should be understood, confidence follows. Dedication and perseverance will help you progress. There are so many ways to learn the basics and it is always really valuable to get advice or support from experienced professionals, that’s what I did and still do!Palestine Demonstration. copyright Sarah Russell

Palestine Demonstration. copyright Sara Russell

Where can we see your work?

You can watch the presentation to ‘Another Day’.
For Wedding services /Special occasions/ Events, enquiries,
please find me on Facebook, message me with any questions, i am happy to respond there InshAllah.


Rumki Chowdhury
Rumki Chowdhury

Published Author, Poet and Journalist. Born in Bangladesh, raised in USA, lived in UK and now in, Sweden. Married and mother of two daughters, Alhumduilillah.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply