A clinical radiologist with artistic inclinations, Mahmoud Yakut of Alexandria, Egypt has built a stunning portfolio of environmental and documentary photography. One of his most interesting projects is “Kashmir” – an exploration of the northernmost part of India. He gives equal attention to the landscape and the people, the beauty of nature and the harshness of daily life. We see mountains and lakes appearing in pleasant greens, blues and greys. Old shepherds wander about, young people smoke and cook food in the most traditional of ways.
Kashmir, says Mahmoud, is unlike any other land that he has seen -“Here nature and man live in complete harmony, people’s faces can sometimes look like mountain tops or like a vast green valley.”
“Photography has been a way for me to escape reality,” Mahmoud explains, although viewers of his work will certainly say that he goes deeper into reality with his lens.
“As a landscape photographer, I always looked for abstracting nature and creating unrealistic scenes,” he continues, “for example, with heavy use of long exposure techniques. Later, when my interest shifted from nature to people and their environment, I found myself drawn to Pictorialism which seemed to just fulfill all the components of photography driving my passion. Work from photographers like Leonard Misonne just blew my mind.
“Then came along the sense of timing and relations of the various components of a photograph or the ‘decisive moment’ concept of Henri Cartier-Bresson, although many modern photographers are trying to break this cliche, but for me it remains a very powerful and yet a very mysterious aspect of photography.”
“Then, in the end, came the drama or meaning to my work through the influence of Salgado, whom I consider to be one of the few greatest photographers ever if not the greatest. So I can simply say that a photo that has beauty together with great timing and inter-objects relationships, that has meaning and drama is a perfect shot. And this is what I try to achieve with my work.”
Check out Mahmoud Yakut’s online pages for other spectacular collections on Asia and Africa.