After spending a decade in Japan, Abeer Abdul Raoof Aisha framed the beauty of her moments there. Alvin Thomas gets a glimpse of ‘the true essence of Japan’
A famous photographer once said: “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” The concept that arises from these wise words holds true till date – and has since created a flux of images that are now redefining the way we look at things that exist around us.
This was also the case last week (February 26) when renowned Omani photographer Abeer Abdul Raoof Aisha displayed her photographs to the public at the Sabco Centre. Mesmerised audience aside, her works were garnering excellent response, with several even clicking photos to show their friends and families. After all, it’s not every day that you get to see photographic works displayed to the public in a mall.
The exhibition, titled ‘From Japan: Beauty of the Moment’, focused on the different shades of Japan – a country that Aisha said she loves. But her love for the nation started well before she started snapping images.
Following her move to Japan with her husband, Aisha started learning photography at the Temple University in Tokyo. And it goes to show: Nothing about the lady and her works are ordinary; all pictures have a story to tell and stem out of love for documenting and showcasing her works to the world. “I love Japan so much that I want to showcase these photos to give the people an idea on how it is to live and enjoy in the country.
“I’ve been there for 10 years, and I know everything about Japan now,” she laughed, before adding that the exhibition only showcased a quarter of the photos (of Japan) she had taken. “I have another 83 photos and many more smaller images,” she remarked. One of Aisha’s standout photos that caught my eye was of go-karts powering through the busy streets of Tokyo.
Apart from that, the visitors also enjoyed pictures of Japanese men fishing in a pond, trees shedding leaves in autumn, and of a fish (whose breed I cannot quite distinguish) near to the surface of a pond. The dynamic ranges of Aisha’s work is displayed in the exhibition is splendid and had me – and several others at the expo – in awe. During our conversation, Aisha remained very animated – smiling and laughing through each question with ease.
“Honestly, to be a photographer is not just to carry a camera and take a photo. Anyone can do that, but it is all about the moment. “I feel that there is a calling that takes me to places in Japan. For instance, when I went to the forest in Kyoto, it was on an instinct that I had to take pictures of the place.
Nothing is choreographed in the photos. “This is also the case when I’m in the city. When I see a dog on the street, I will take a photo. In short, real photography receives soul when you are attracted by an occurrence at a moment. Unsurprisingly, Aisha has also held an exhibition in Japan, showcasing the beauty of Oman.
“My aim was to narrate a comparison of Oman and Japan through pictures,” she told me. “Oman and Japan has shared tremendous diplomatic relations. So, it’s only right to introduce each other’s cultures to the respective people. There are a lot of similarities between Oman and Japan. Hospitality, she said, is one of the main features of the residents of both countries.
“I don’t see any difference in the people at all… sometimes it feels just like home,” she added. Hideaki Yamamoto, the Deputy Head of Mission and Counsellor, chimed in: “There’s a lot of passion in Aisha’s works and it definitely captures the true essence of Japanese culture. “It’s a great time and location to introduce Japan to the people of Oman. And she’s taken different angles of Japan – nature, people, cities, cultures and things,” he added.
If you thought Aisha’s works are only received well in Oman, think again; her works were lauded greatly and also earned honorable mentions in the years following 2013 at the prestigious International Photographic Salon of Japan competition organised by the All-Japan Association of Photographic Societies and the Asahi Shibun. Carrying her prized Canon camera, Aisha vowed that she would continue her passion to document everything memorable she sees in the months to come.