Freelance photographer Salam Zaied began taking photos 2 years ago to relief herself from stress. She identified that photography became a form of escapism, and later decided to collaborate with other creatives to expand her portfolio. Before moving to London, Salam grew up in Jordan in the Middle East. Her life journey has made her work and experiences unique to others around her. Read more to find out more about Salam’s journey.
What made you start photography?
“I was in my final year of university and I was stressed. I was overworked, tired and my mental health was suffering. I felt as though I needed an outlet. I didn’t want to spend money on anything so I decided to use the resources I had; a 10-year-old DSLR and YouTube. It was a form of escapism for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the process of it all. It took my mind away from the negative feelings I was having. I became immersed in everything from finding things to take photos of all the way through to the editing process.”
In what ways has your journey shaped the way you create art through photography?
“After suffering from anxiety and depression, I found it really difficult to be in social spaces without feeling overwhelmed. It’s ironic how now that my main body of work is portraiture. This has massively shaped what I produce and how I intend for the imagery to come across. I always aim to create a sense of intimacy and intensity in the photos I produce.”
What has been your most exciting project and why?
“My most exciting project is something I’m working on at the moment which touches on something that is affecting us all. I won’t divulge too much but just keep your eyes peeled!”
How do you look to change the narrative in the world of photography?
“I’ve remained relatively anonymous on social media, especially Instagram. A lot of the time people assume I’m male. I love how surprised people are when I show up for a shoot and they see that I’m not. It’s really important for me to change the way photography is received by the audience. I really want people to look at my work and not associate beautiful imagery with the work of a man.”
What advice would you give to others starting out in photography?
“Practise. Practise. Practise. Initially, when I started taking photos I would take them on my iPhone. Don’t feel pressured to have fancy expensive equipment – that’s not what makes beautiful images, it’s you. Use the resources you have and take pictures of everything. Experiment with light and angles.
Go to exhibitions and galleries – draw inspiration from others. Study the works of famous photographers. Instagram is a bubble. It’s a powerful tool to access amazing imagery and share yours, but the photos that live forever are the ones in the pages of books. Don’t get too hung up on likes and retweets.”
Check out Salam’s website here.