urban art is on the rise in dubai thanks to young habibti

Young Habibti is using her talent in photography to bring urban vibes to the Middle East. Here's a quick chat I had with her about her inspirations, aspirations, and future projects.

When did your love for photography start?

I think around the age of 10! My father has been a tech lover in every sense and that included camera gear/photography. From the products themselves & all their physical details to the images he could produce with them. He used to do architectural photography in university, and in a way I think he transferred that to me as I grew up.

My love was truly in preserving a human moment. Pursuing photography as a personal love has been 7-8 year journey.

Your style is very edgy and urban, what inspired you to take this approach?

It was definitely a combination of experiences that led me to my style.

I have always been oriented to the following: abstraction, geometry, human presence, movement.

The first phase of my style discovery came in Houston, much of it because I was also finding myself at the same time while I was there.

Going to underground live shows & concerts, realizing how difficult it was to capture artists as I myself saw them (radiating energy), plus being ignorant of certain manual settings. Then I discovered the freeze-frame blur effect and my world changed. It was so exciting to capture an image where you felt an artist's energy & movement through the lights. It felt like the sweet spot between a still shot & video, and it was like heaven to me as a shooter.

The second phase was my editing style (neon love, all the colors in the rainbow & then some), which I discovered here in Dubai after moving 2 years ago. The levels of skills out here are crazy and I loved it. Initially I was quite inspired by them, but then I started to notice a pattern of monochrome toning, or no more than two tones, and they were often subdued. I tested the style but it stopped feeling like me. Furthermore looking at the cityscape skyline you start to feel all the tones are similar and blend into a blue-green-beige blur, and its constant (but an issue most major metropolitan cities face).

I legit needed to feed my eyes with something loud, extra, vibrant at that point. So I took a step back and kind of destroyed my old process, stopped over-thinking, opened a photo, and legit just kept playing with settings till my eyes FELT good and let it go. That just seems to happen most when there's intense forms of color. It breaks the monotony.

If I need to put any names to inspiration, definitely Terry Richardson, Nick Knight, Peter Beste, Hassan Hajjaj & Saeed Khalifa are who come immediately to mind.

What do you find to be your biggest challenge in photography?

Just being able to push my own limits in subject matter, as well as finding new places & spaces. I'm rarely in a structured setting like a studio, its all out and about and connecting both people & place, so that requires both. My photography acts as a major guide to understanding sense of place.

Do you prefer editorial fashion shoots or capturing people in their natural habitat?

I would say natural habitat for more frequency. But I do love the boundary limits that can be played with in editorial style shoots. You get the opportunity to abstract a person so they're both human as you know them, and yet almost sculptural like marble or steel, or like a painting.

If you had the choice to shoot anyone in the world, who would it be?

Oh god who wouldn't I shoot? A$AP Rocky, Beyonce, Rihanna, Erykah Badu, Zoe Kravitz... So many haha. and notice how they're all music oriented though? I live for the interconnection of the arts like that. Using my art to re-enforce another.

What's the next step for Young Habibti?

Nothing fully describable as its still forming. My goal is purely to surpass my own skills with each shoot. If i've improved from the previous shot set, then its accomplishing in itself.

Ideally I want to keep just pushing limits on subject matter, beauty of the human body as art, and work with any stylists or makeup artists interested to do full blown, extra, loud, editorial style visualizations. Furthermore I wanna show varying aspects of life, especially the fun and beauty of the grit or underground of anywhere. Peter Beste's Photographic Book "Houston Rap" as an example of such.

Finally, what's your favorite type of cake?

Chocolate always <3, and cheesecake. Combined is the ultimate.

Follow @young_habibti for more photography

All images used are courtesy of @young_habibti