It’s often the case that travel series can hinge on anthropological studies, or worse, voyeurism. Consequently, when a photographic collection of a place scarcely-covered or caught on camera comes our way, it’s that much more special when the photographer themselves has a connection with the space. Such is the case for Eman Ali, whose breathtaking new series The Earth Would Die If The Sun Stopped Kissing Her functions as a “love letter” to her hometown in the country of Oman (as well as of friends in Bahrain and the UAE). “It's been a labour of love spanning several years, with each visit back from London giving me the opportunity to add new images,” Eman tells It’s Nice That. “When the pandemic spread across the world, I found myself drawn back to Oman in search of solace and a connection to something grounding amidst the chaos that was unfolding globally.” Guided by the “freedom of the open roads” in Oman, “each journey felt like a step towards reclaiming a sense of normalcy in a world that felt anything but normal,” she describes.
The series doesn’t have one particular aesthetic it adheres to – but a dreamy, serene atmosphere lingers in each photo. “It was all about playfulness for me, fuelled by a curiosity that just couldn't be contained,” Eman says of her intentions for the series. “And so, the end result, if you see the collection in its entirety, sort of flows in and out of different feelings and moods, almost like a tide responding to the moon’s pull.” In this way, the photographic capturing of these people, places, and things in Oman served as a “form of meditation” for Eman. “The process was all about following my instincts and embracing the flow,” she explains.
Some favourite captures of Eman’s include that of her brother, Mohammed, lost in his reveries, as well as a group of local boys enjoying a swim in the (40°C!) summer, and that of her friend, Malak, in an exposure test that turned into a beautiful candid moment. “For me, what’s at the heart of my work is this genuine invitation to step into a different world,” Eman summarises. “I hope that whenever someone lays their eyes on my work, they’re not just looking, but they’re going on this voyage through the moments I’ve framed.”
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