I am 37 years old Pakistani who has been living in Dubai for 11 years. I am a Marketing Specialist by profession.
Calligraphy has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Art was my favorite subject in school. The strokes and curves in Urdu Calligraphy fascinated me the most and were pure art in my eyes. For me watching professional calligraphers ending the thick strokes with thin lines was utterly satisfying for my heart.
I used to practice writing on a ‘takhti’ (wooden board used for writing) with a ‘kalam’ (pen made with bamboo to write on a takhti) while watching the local TV show called "Khattat" (Calligrapher) when I was about 12 years old. That's why I used to get extra marks for good handwriting in the class :) I still watch YouTube videos and visit local galleries for inspiration. I've also took classes to learn Arabic script called Wissam script, developed by the famous Iraqi calligrapher Mr. Wissam Shaukat. I am also an avid follower of Mr. Hassan Massoudy’s calligraphy work. Mr. Hassan Massoudy's work and Wissam script has really helped me create some beautiful light calligraphy work.
Photography: I developed interest in Photography when I moved to Dubai and saw the amazing architecture of mosques & skyscrapers. From there I got interested in capturing abandoned buildings which took me to Ras al Khaimah. To me they told the stories of light before darkness. I also went to Pakistan and started visiting the places which were lost in history. The idea was to bring them back to life with my Photographs and explain the history behind the places. There's a lot of places to visit in Pakistan to see the history and culture of how people used to live there, and now no one likes to visit some of those places anymore. Mosques, shrines, gardens, forts and other beautiful places built when the sub-continent was ruled by the Mughal Emperors, either in the memory of their loved ones or for the people to remember them. Lahore is rich with those places.
LightPainting: 6 years ago, I found a term called "Light Painting"; a long exposure technique to draw in space. I found this technique more fascinating than usual Photography. So I started experimenting with it, I've created Orbs, drawings of different types, graffiti of different styles and then it hit me, I told myself to bring back my passion of Calligraphy into this. I knew what I wanted to do is to combine my passion for Calligraphy with my interest in Photography and so I did just that.
The inspiration came by looking at the work of some other Light Graffiti Artists and I told myself, I can do that too with Calligraphy. Light Graffiti is abstract, Light Calligraphy requires more precise work. It tells a story and requires more effort to get it right e.g; for the Camera you need to practice writing in reverse because cameras capture mirror image. That took me quite some time to get used to. Of course flipping the image in Photoshop could have easily solve the problem but I told myself to keep my work straight out of the camera. When I started my Light Calligraphy work I just focused on a great location and my favorite words. Initially it was all about finding a great location, not caring about the history of the place. I would just pick the lights and created whatever I liked because I was still experimenting and learning. But now my process has changed; I visit the place, study the history, think of a word that would suit the location and then shoot Light Calligraphy. Sometimes it takes several visits and come up with a word that I feel is best suited for a particular location. I also have some go-to words like "Love", "Beauty", "Light", "Passion", "Freedom" "Creativity" which can be used in places which don't have rich history but still the location demands a light Calligraphy shoot. :)
I mostly visit abandoned places, those which speak to me and I feel like they deserve to be brought to life. I want people to visit those places again and see the real beauty, understand the history or maybe learn the stories behind and that is the purpose of my Light Calligraphy work.