Jeddah Traffic Series


None of us is a stranger to Jeddah’s traffic ..
With hours spent on its streets, I often take the opportunity to frustration into inspiration!

Starting with the nose each time, with no preconceived image I let the bumps on the roads determine the characteristics of my character!
Created with one finger, a four-inch screen, all under nine minutes!




Feel free to see more under #JeddahTrafficSeries

Instagram: @ali_salwa
App used: Paperby53


How DID we all become ‘photographers?’


How many of you have taken at least one photograph on a smart device?
If you haven’t .. please feel free to redirect yourself to the following page: why you should own a smart device.

For those of you have, hallelujah! Most of you have probably even tried to upload a couple on instagram with clever hashtags and tacky filters. Yes I said tacky ..
That does not make you any less of a photographer, but rather makes you believe less in planning over a photograph and more in the edit. Editing is often a skill, that many do not have the eye for. As a graphic designer, who has loved photography for over 5 years I still look back at stuff from last year and wonder what I was thinking!
The easiest way out is to keep it natural. Play with the camera itself rather than the artificial filters they give you easy access to. However in order to understand photography, one must know of its history, which brings us to our topic.Print

As of 2015, we are 7.3 billion people on this planet. 30% being youth, those born and raised into the technology generation.
That is more than 2.2 billion kids on this planet who have been using smart phone cameras and have no idea where they originated, nor how easy it is to take pictures now!

With social media in the hands of 85% of fifteen year olds today, they cover more than 37% of instagram and snap chat’s user base. For that reason, for a recent project for an information design course, we were given the freedom to chose a topic of our choice. As someone who truly began to appreciate photography even more once I knew its history, I thought might as well teach the generation after me as well, as quickly & briefly as possible. After all it isnt their fault they were born in such ‘easy’ times ..
Hence my poster was completed, numerous edits and protypes later, this one proved to be most effective amongst the target audience.
You may go back up and take a closer look at it, constructive criticism is always welcome!

Typography; Under Appreciated.

ImageKul II / Photo 20

Nasser al Salem is a Saudi architect who has had a passion for calligraphy since the age of 6. (, 2014). Khalid Akil, born and raised in Syria also moved away from his educational background in law to pursue his passion in photography. (, 2011). From a series titled Kul, Al Salem shows the perfect blend of his schooling in architecture and passion in calligraphy in his piece Kul II. Akil also works with a series of black and white images titled The Unmentioned consisting of photos form Syria, one of which is photo 20. In Kul II, Al Salem emphasizes on the importance of one’s perspective by continuously changing the dimensions of the single word ‘Kul, meaning everything, to verify its significance from different angels. Mr. Akil’s use of a troubled individual, with his back half turned towards a wall covered with advice, depicts how generations continue to echo their ancestor’s mistakes despite being warned. Artists of both pieces have intelligently used the powerful tool of typography to communicate very vast philosophies.

In Kul II, Mr. Al Salem tries to create a virtual space using the characters of his text. By adjusting the dimensions of each letter, with every step forward he creates a foreground of text and a background of a path that one should follow in order to see life from different perspectives. With the use of specifically Arabic typography, Al Salem’s artwork reaches out to an extremely wide audience. As opposed to focusing on the Saudi community alone, he calls out to the entire Middle East, thus confirming the power of typography. Mr. Akil however, uses a similar approach yet preaches a different message. He photographs a wall camouflaged with excessive amount of text that may be read as advice. By using Arabic excerpts from the Islamic holy book, he sends out these messages of guidance to the entire Muslim community. Displaying how despite the overflow of advice, most of it is being wasted. The overwriting also displays the loss of such an important message that is the word of God. However the wall being situated in center of Syria gives the audience another chance to learn from their mistakes. Once the generation begins to understand, the city shall embellish. Therefore, the typography not only aids the development of the city and its people, it also fulfills the criteria of being adornments to the streets. Mr. Akil also provokes the audience by changing the orientation of the text on the wall from horizontal to vertical to show how at times one must change the way they look at things in order to understand more.

Mr. Al Salem takes a confident step, as he incorporates no other element in his artwork other than the letters themselves. By correct placement of the typography, coupled with the meaning of the word ‘Kul’, the final execution of the artwork is successful. This leaves the audience aware of the fact that with a change in perspective, ‘everything’ can be achieved. Hence these two elements do justice in communicating the significance of the artwork and require no additional elements. Khaled Akil incorporates a more traditional method of gaining ones attention, by using the contrasts between black and white. A dark shaded wall covered with bright white text instantly tells the audience where the message of the artwork lies. He also illustrates small sketches behind all the text to show how advice has been given in many different ways, yet is still overlooked. Hence these sketches remain hidden under overlapping text depicting how most have not even realized their presence.

At times a change of perspective may take the audience through a series of disappointments, until one stage proves to be satisfactory. Al Salem shows these different stages in his artwork, as bridges to different insights with the curve of every character. These ripples inform the reader that there is no end, as one must keep trying after every rise and fall. Eventually stepping back and seeing the entire composition from a distance, one shall realize the various stages they went through. When rotating the canvas 90 degrees, Al Salem illustrates a repetitive outline of a lens, hence proving, the piece is meant to be looked at in perspective. Once again, reaffirming his point on how a slight change in ones viewpoint can change an overall interpretation of a matter. On the other hand, Khalid Akil portrays a man, simple in nature, in order to represent all sons of Adam. He appears to be disappointed by the generations with his glance towards the floor. Akil adds a twist to the attire of the old man by dressing him in a mix of western clothing combined with a turban. By doing so he proves to us how at times regardless of how much one is guided by tradition; some things are bound to change. In Akil’s photograph he also begins to fade the text, yet some parts remain bright. Demonstrating how the generations are continuing to hold on tight to their traditions, whether it is visible or not.

Typography has proved to be an extremely beneficial tool, when used cleverly by both artists, in communicating extremely diverse ideas. Whether it be the surplus use of text, or the spacing between each character, both techniques give a whole new insight into the artist’s mind. An extra touch of contrast and change of perspective, allows the audience to focus exactly where the artists desires, therefore fully appreciating the complexity of each artwork’s meaning.


DSC_0559 FINAL 1

Photo title: Hallucinations

With Makkah progressing greatly towards destroying & commercializing all its valuable locations, some believe it’s to show that they are of no sacred value. They aim to not let the generations to come astray & keep the distractions to a minimum. Demolishing anything that could be a source of a misconception. Yet there are others who,despite slightly agreeing with this point of view, often argue of whether or not they are still of any historical value ..

Big Ben on steroids?

As part of preparing for the islamic pilgrimage ,we are all asked to wear white in order to show our unity. To prove that in the eyes of God no one is superior to another yet Abraj al bait stands miles above the kaaba? Did that business proposal not sound wrong the first time?

In order to make way for this “Saudi Big Ben” they had to demolish a 220 year old fortress!With numerous countries objecting the proposal one in particular caught my attention.

“A muslim country’s destruction of another muslim country’s historic heritage on holy soil is a sinful behaviour” – Turkey

These specific parties argued that this was originally done to decrease distractions, but now by also belittling the Kaaba is it supposed to be less of a distraction?

While looking up at God praying for his blessings, there’s that constant reminder to how much time you have left before that ‘early morning meeting’. A journey to the “heart of the islamic world” should cleanse ones inner self, remove all thoughts and concerns of this life & allow one to only concentrate on the afterlife! Frankly it has become almost impossible to do so with the Abraj staring down at you like that!

Monetary Value

Today, Makkah holds the title of the most expensive land in the world, leaving Monte Carlo & London miles behind. Despite being the most welcoming place for all muslims around the world, makkah’s own population does not seem to have benefitted in any way. On the contrary, most of them fear the day they ‘re asked to relocate to make way for another multimillion dollar project.

Trying to make use of the vast type of ‘islamic tourists’ most merchants have to adjust to quite a difficult lifestyle.

Late Ramadan nights are spent awake with potential customers until sunrise! From the time of night’s prayer up to dawn’s is when sales are at their peaks. Forcing themselves to overwork, they aim to make use of the booming economy, yet deep down they are aware of the facts. Aware that regardless of how much it progresses, it shall be of no use to them. Yet they remain content & work hard to make a living. At times so overworked they begin to lose track of their senses, losing track of how much they’re selling. They become oblivious to these facts.

They begin to hallucinate..

Photo Dated: Ramadan 2012