One of the things that we love about creativity is that it often comes hand-in-hand with a DIY, community-focused spirit. Jordanian photographer Mohammed Zakaria perfectly embodies this ethos – not only does he take beautiful and captivating photographs, but he also runs a skateboard company and helped to build a skatepark in his local area. We spoke to Mohammed about shooting skate videos, being patient and conveying emotion.
Hi Mohammed. Tell us a little about yourself - where are you from, where are you based and what do you do outside of photography?
My name is Mohammed Zakaria. I’m a Palestinian Jordanian, currently living and working in Amman, Jordan. I’m a photographer, I own and run a skateboard company based out of Amman ‘Philadelphia Skateboards’ and I’m the cofounder of the 7hills Skatepark in Amman.
When did you begin shooting, what made you start and what has driven you to continue?
I’ve been shooting skate videos with my friends for a while, but my interest in photography started when my friend encouraged me to buy a film camera 4 years ago. The moment I really got into photography was after I got my first roll back and seeing the photos. It’s a nice relationship that you have with your work with film, one that you can’t have with digital. I think what drives me is how fun it is. It’s very enjoyable putting your effort into capturing the perfect photograph.
What do you shoot on?
Currently I’m shooting on a Leica M6, saved up for 2 years to be able to get one. But I’m starting to develop a hobby of collecting film cameras. A hobby that’s causing me to be broke all the time!
Over what span of time were these photos taken? What makes them stand out from your other shots?
This selection of photos was taken over the past 2 years. I feel like I’ve only recently started getting photos that I’m satisfied with - these shots are mostly from skate trips and skatepark builds from the past 2 years. The photo of the boy at the sea is probably my favorite shot. With this photo I took a different approach than I usually do, I just hung out with a bunch of boys playing in the water until this moment presented itself, I snapped it and went on. After that I learned to be patient with photography.
Emotion and composition compliment each other. You must feel what you’re shooting and you must compose it in a way that conveys that emotion.
How do you think your work is affected by sharing it online?
It’s great to see how people react to your work online and it certainly is a great platform to have your voice heard. But a lot of the times it can be misleading because of how rare it is to get an honest critique on your work.
What do you look for when you’re taking a photo? Are you more concerned with the composition or evoking a certain feeling?
I really think that one can’t go without the other. Emotion and composition compliment each other. You must feel what you’re shooting and you must compose it in a way that conveys that emotion.
Is there anyone you’d like to shout out?
I’d like to give a shout out to Hamzeh Zahran, Evan Collisson and Mothanna Hussein. Hamzeh and Evan are both brilliant photographers currently living in the states. Hamzeh was the one who convinced me to buy a film camera. Mothanna in my opinion is one of the best graphic designers in the region.