Can a camera lens look deep into its subject’s soul? Saudi Arabian photographer Ali Al Sumayin says not only that, but it can tear us free of the masks we wear every day.
Since 2000, Al Sumayin has been interested in the human face as a subject and the way a photograph can document life.
He has photographed hundreds of people’s faces from across the globe and will show the results at his True Faces exhibition, which will take place at the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre.
Al Sumayin calls it an attempt at removing the metaphorical masks we wear to protect our vulnerable inner selves to fit in with society.
The exhibition includes more than 20 portraits that capture everyday interactions between people on the streets of six countries.
Al Samayin said: “Sometimes, a smile and a simple breakfast is all it takes for someone to open up to you. In the case of the sailors I photographed in Dubai, that was all it took to remove the barriers between us.
“Some of my subjects have lowered their masks because I have been by their side during times of tragedy, allowing me to take gripping portraits like one taken in Italy after the earthquake in 2009.
“Creating these images has taught me that we need to take the time to get to know the people we are interacting with in order to delve into their true soul.”
Ali Al Sumayin was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. He now lives in Dubai, working as a designer and photographer.
The opening of True Faces will take place at DUCTAC’s Gallery of Light from Tuesday, April 19, to Thursday, April 28. Admission is free.
The gallery is open from 9am to 10pm, Saturday to Thursday, and from 2pm to 10pm on Fridays and public holidays.