So, Nabil Darwish, what is your story?
Stories are very much what we create and make in life, and mine is very simple. Born in Jerusalem, Palestine, raised by a manner where the appreciation of life, no matter what it brings, is loved to the fullest, and raised by life itself day by day to discover and learn. I guess my passion for arts has grown with me from an early age, noticing the small details of all that is around me, but mostly, the expressions of people, which brought about my first sketch with a pencil, writings of random thoughts, and my first moments captured through my lens.
At times, when I did not have the ability to write or express, my art work through my lens has been my pen, sketching words of those moments which I was not able to express. And from it, to express from the emotions of faces, eyes, and motions of the humans that we are. From street photography, to portrait photography, to dance photography, it all comes down to an expression, a single absolute moment of an inner soul being set at ease to talk.
Clearly, through time, this passion grew and expanded to the hundreds of films developed, or the thousands of photographs sketched through my journeys in cities and countries, but all in all, to the point of being able to speak the visual stories of those who are not able to pronounce them. And so, my story is simple, it is what I believe in, I draw pictures all day, and true images of life.
What is the message behind your pictures?
I cannot say that there is a single one message, as they are all expressions of lives that are messaging out from their own selves. What I do is what I feel is naturally being what I can to inspire and let stories come out from those that are in front of me, and to let go of their bounds and holds, and get to a moment to where I am at one with them. The natural form of who they are. I’ve been asked about the colors of why the so many black and whites, and even though some may argue this, but black and white are also colors, and with that I leave the eyes that see my images explore the many colors which the photos have from their own imagination. It is simply the way I see through the people my lens reflects.
Tell us about a project or an accomplishment that you consider to be the most empowering.
As much as possible, and however way possible, I do my best through all of what I do to empower and inspire others. And with my photography work, this drive is even stronger, as the chance of being part of someone’s life in their message that they want to bring out is so precious to me.
One that stands out for me in my life was a few years back, during an assignment on self-reliance and resilience of displaced Bedouins. The sunrise till sunset photoshoot was with two young brothers, their displacement carried them and their family to all ends of the country, and they carried me through a day in their life. I realized how connected they are with each other, how much they care about one another, yet their hopes where what was even more displaced with the fact that the faced situation did now allow them to live what is called a “normal life” which has taken away the basic needs, the education, the hope for a better future. Throughout the day, their stories told brought about the composition of the portraits taken, yet also, my talks to try and give them a chance to think of what can be done.
Almost two years after, and unexpectedly, I met the two brothers by accident, walking into the campus of a university, with a voice calling my name. I did not recognize the kid running towards me, not at first, but then his look and smile came back. The two after my visit decided to go out of the situation they were in, not with ease, but they stuck together, went back to school, and went on to create change. They told me that when they saw their photos, which I printed and passed on to them, they did not like what they saw, they did not want to be in that frame, and as much as they loved life, they wanted to create what others told them they can’t and gave them pity on.
They created changed and were self-reliant for their own selves, and became what they truly wanted to be.
To inspire and empower is a dual process, where I see that the subjects and souls of my images have been the cause of my empowerment and fulfillment of hunger to capture and speak out more for those who are not able to.
If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?
We all get that thought, the “what if” on situations and circumstances where one would and could or couldn’t have done something different.
Yet, I have taken it upon me to not ever regret, and not ever want to “do-over” anything.
If you think of it, it is the same as how it was years back, before the digital age of cameras came in, it was a one shot on a negative film, it is either one gets the “shot” or they don’t, as moments don’t roll back.
And so, what I have done is to always take that chance to “do-right”, to do anything and everything which will create change, not just for me, but to others, and have chances to be able to inspire others for them to create the change too however way possible.
What does a perfect day look like to you?
Each day is what we make of it.
In a way, I do take each day as it comes, yes, of course planned and thought of in many ways to a certain extent, though, I would say a perfect day for me would be one without any thoughts, and a natural flow to enjoy every bit of it from the moment my eyes open. It would be one of exploration, even if it is in a place I have been to hundreds of times, it still would be an adventure.
Do you have a message for humanity?
With all that we are witnessing these days, one wonders about that word, and what we have become. One also wonders on what is it that makes us realize that it is the time for us more than ever to be more human in the fill meaning of the word.
It is the time to care, it is the time to realize how strong we must be to face all that has been rendering our self-beings to what we do not and ever not want to be.
My message is simple, to reflect what we are in our doings, be human not just for us, but for others that are on the margin to forget themselves and their humanity. To empower ourselves to live and love life.
By Mayshad Team