Chapman University is Torki’s dream school. “Ever since I took up photography and filmmaking as a full time hobby, this program was recommended personally to me by many teachers, counselors, photographers and filmmakers.” Image Credit: Supplied

Torki Alghamdi, 18, a senior at Raha International School, was born and raised in Saudi Arabia until he moved to the UAE in 2012. Over the years, he has been nursing a dream of finding his space in the field of film production in Saudi Arabia. To that end, he has been honing his photography skills by capturing scenic landscapes and producing short skits.

“I hope to be the future of film industry in Saudi Arabia,” he says. A lover of sports, he has also made a mark in waterpolo. He has sailed in the Maldives, scuba dived in Egypt, skied in Switzerland, and mountain biked in US.

Excerpts from an interview:

When did you realize you have passion for photography?

It was the day I got my first phone, an iPhone 5, which featured a quality camera and video-editing software. I began to explore with it by taking pictures of the sunset outside my balcony, and pictures of landscapes whenever I went on a trip. I later came across a small video editing platform called ‘iMovie’ where I created slideshows of pictures featuring my friends, family and various activities.

Who were your mentors?

I’d say it is my aunt who’s studying visual arts and design. She knew a thing or two about photography and every summer I’d go over to her house in Saudi Arabia and we would set up a makeshift studio in her room and take some pictures. An arts and photography teacher at school also gave me advice about photography, further increasing my knowledge in this field.

How did you develop this passion and hone your skills?

To me it really comes down to trial and error. No one starts out perfect especially in a subjective field such as filmmaking and photography. So I expressed myself and produced what I loved filming which is short fictional films and montages despite lacking major skills and experiences. Along the way I begin to visualize ways to improve my work in future projects. I would take notes and apply newer skills to future films.

What do you attempt to say through your photographs?

I have adopted the saying “A picture speaks a thousand words”. This allows me to convey various meanings and themes in a picture to leave an impression on as many people as possible to appreciate the beauty of photography. One example is a picture I took of the Abu Dhabi skyline. To many, that photograph conveyed meanings of growth, development, architecture, humanity, business, and much more. The more meanings a picture can speak, the more valuable it is to me and the viewer.

Have you taken any courses in photography?

I have attended summer camps and participated in photo- and video-oriented workshops at two elite universities; Stanford and Yale during two consecutive years (2018 & 2019). There I learnt how to use photoshop, adobe premiere, final cut pro, among other techniques.

How did you prepare for getting admission into Chapman University?

Chapman University has always been a dream school for me. Ever since I took up photography and filmmaking as a full time hobby, this program was recommended personally to me by many teachers, counselors, photographers and filmmakers. The filmmaking program at their Dodge School of Film and Media Arts was the right program for me, and with the help of my counselor at Hale education, we were able to create an amazing portfolio for myself.

What is your dream career?

My dream is to go back to Saudi Arabia and work in the film industry. The country is growing, and I hope to get the opportunity to produce locally based films and grab the attention of giant global media outlets such as Hollywood studios and draw their attention at the next big film industry in the Middle East.

To learn more, visit haleeducation.com.

Anand Raj OK

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