They call her November and she doesn't mind it. In fact she actually likes it. Fatma Al Bakry, likes everything about November, the month that she was born. A freelance photographer, stylist, a photo blogger and a student, she likes clicking random pictures of people. She runs a blog Novemberus, and with a thousand likes each week across the GCC and Gulf region, she wants to showcase not only her work, but the work of others as well.
"My journey in photography began through music, as strange as it may sound. It all began to have an effect on me, and I would always picturise the visuals of the songs I used to hear," says Fatma.
About four years ago Fatma had a vision to get herself a camera (pun intended). She managed to convince and explain to her father why she so badly needed a camera and why he should be the one to get it for her. "He bought me a Nikon D5100 during the summer of 2010." It was also the time she was visiting her sister in Malaysia, and since then she hasn't put it down.
Fatma is fascinated with people and their beauty, "Most of my portraits are about ordinary people," she tells. "It started with my friends and then became random people," she adds.
And how does she manage to find the time between blogging, photography and studies?
"Freelance is perfect for me as it gives me the perfect balance between my studies and hobbies," says Fatma. "It also gives me the time to manage my studies in Dubai (studies marketing in Dubai in the Canadian university) and balance my personal life as well."
Room for improvement
Fatma feels she can do better with her photography, although she has clicked at least 5,000 pictures or more, she believes, "there is always room for improvement".
And what does she count among her favourites: "There was this girl who wanted to be a model and wanted her portfolio done. She came to me and asked me to help her make one. I pulled stuff from my wardrobe, got her styled and we were shooting the whole day, and guess what? They came out absolutely vintage, which was the idea," she narrated.
And how does she make her subject comfortable?
"When I first meet them, I have this technique – where I make them believe I'm really silly, and it works."
Not just a dreamer
Fatma wants to have her own studio some day, and is working towards it. She plans to buy her equipment with the money that she earns from her photoshoots. She has her hands full and is shooting for brands in the UAE. "This was something I always wanted to do. I can't imagine a life without the camera," she confesses. "I know what I want and I'm working my best to get it," she tells of her desire to get serious about her hobby.
A modest set up of a functional photo studio could be in the range of OMR20,000 to OMR25,000; and she says, she is getting close to setting up a full-fledged studio in Muscat.
Fatma was born in November. Inspired by the song Novembering You, she thought that she needed to make it "all about everybody and her".
"I think any one who is creative deserves an applause and needs a platform to show their work," she said. She described her blog as an ideal way to do so.
It has been two years since the blog has been up and running. "It is a decent photo blog with a noble cause of showcasing everybody's work," she concludes.