Arif Al Nomay

Yemen

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At 19, Yemeni photographer Arif Al Nomay got his first passport and went to work in Saudi Arabia where his grandfather ran the Abha Photo Lab, and it was there that he learned about the craft. Arif now lives in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, and works to support his family back in Yemen. When a power cut and a computer malfunction led to him losing years of work, he was surprised to find a set of photos taken at a Summer Festival in his Yemen’s capital had survived, but the images had been corrupted and skewed by the mishap, and it was those photos that we featured on the site. The festival took place the year before Yemen descended into war, and so the ruined and images of happiness and joy would become a symbol for the pieces of Yemeni everyday life that were lost as a result of the conflict.

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I realized that photography can convey a message to the world without the need for literal translation. I realized what we see is something we all have in common and photography could be the key to overcoming the barrier of language.