There’s a rising demand for diverse perspectives

The advertising industry in this region has plenty to shout about when it comes to gender diversity. We recently interviewed a number of female executives for our annual Women in Advertising issue and there were lots of positive comments about the progress being made.

But no-one will deny there is a lot more work to do in leveling the playing field. We will be publishing these interviews online at Campaign Middle East and in our September issue.

Photographer Maryam Abdul Ghaffar first picked up a camera aged 9, and has been attached ever since.

I love capturing the true essence of things and showcase them through my lens. My curious nature and passion for photography landed me some unique opportunities to showcase my work and be part of some exciting projects,” she said.

Her earliest exposure was undergoing a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Toledo (U.S) where she was selected to complete a three month photography programme. From there, Maryam was able to land three independent photography projects at Ohio State.

She was selected to enter the American Film Showcase to film documentaries and was trained to become a film director. Maryam won awards for best short documentary, best film director and an award for third place in the TAKT film festival.

After that she worked on a film called ‘Why people take photos’ which won an award for best short documentary from the Los Angeles Film Awards in 2023. Maryam became the recipient of an international award (Chromatic Award) with honours twice.

“My goal is to continue creating art behind the camera. However, infront of the camera, I am a content creator who creates content for photographers and filmmakers. My work is a mix of advertisements, commercials and corporate films (documentaries) for media selling, plus I still have my hobby which is films that catch my interest.”

Over the past few years, she has noticed a few key trends making a significant impact in the photography profession:

Shift to mirrorless: The rapid shift towards mirrorless cameras, driven by their lighter weight, improved functionality and enhanced image quality is one of the biggest trends. Fujifilm, in particular, has been at the forefront of this wave with their outstanding X-series and GFX-series of mirrorless cameras.

Authenticity in photos: There’s been a trend of craving authenticity in photos. With access to high-resolution-camera smartphones, the culture of carefully curated, picture-perfect images is shifting towards raw, candid, ‘in-the-moment’ photographs that capture real emotions and experiences.

Rise in social media photography: The influence of social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest has ramped up, making them key venues for photographers to showcase their work and for businesses to source images. This has led to a new level of visibility for photographers but also increased competition in the field.

Demand for diverse perspectives: With a global audience guaranteed via digital platforms, there’s a rising demand for diverse perspectives across different cultures, communities and people.

Sustainable practices: There is an increasing commitment to sustainable and ethical practices in photography, including reduction of plastic waste, responsible travel and heightened respect for indigenous cultures and wildlife.

AI and computational photography: The rapid advancement in AI and computational photography offers tools to further enhance creative possibilities, with features such as object and pattern recognition, automated settings for optimal image capture and sophisticated editing options.

These trends are leading to a richer, more diverse, and technologically-advanced photography landscape. While they present challenges, they also offer exciting opportunities for creative expression and problem-solving, which are at the heart of the photographer’s craft.

Maryam is an ambassador for Fujifilm, a role she loves because it gives her the opportunity to represent a community that shares a deep-rooted passion for photography. “Being able to connect with this global community, contribute to innovative discussions and help shape the future of photography demands a blend of responsibility and creativity that I greatly enjoy.

“Representing Fujifilm, a brand synonymous with quality and innovation in the field of imaging technology, is an incredible experience. The commitment it exhibits towards pushing creative boundaries inspires me every day, making this role truly fulfilling.”

As a Fujifilm ambassador, she receives plenty of support from the brand. “With their state-of-the-art cameras and equipment, I’m empowered to explore fresh perspectives and push the boundaries of my photography. This sponsorship from Fujifilm, both materially and conceptually, unquestionably amplifies my ability to not only refine my photographic skills but also add unique value to my work, enriching the global photography landscape”.