Azzam Al Mannai, the photographer capturing the true essence of nature

Azzam Al Mannai, the photographer capturing the true essence of nature
Copyright euronews
By Euronews
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How do we reconnect ourselves with the essence of nature? How do we celebrate its beauty in our daily life? These are the key messages behind the work of the Qatari photographer Azzam Al Mannai. His magnificent pictures of whale sharks and wildlife are renowned around the world.

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Qatar's natural beauty is no secret to Azzam Al Mannai. The self-taught wildlife photographer has spent the last four summers diving with whale sharks hundreds of kilometres away from the country's shore. The giant mammals have become an integral part of his artwork.

The 44-year-old Qatari artist spent fifteen years in the oil and gas industry before changing his career path. The engineer then became the CEO of Sports Accelerator, an organisation hub for sports incubators. It wasn't until 2019 that Azzam decided to dedicate more time to his hobbies and first picked up a camera.

A solo trip to Iceland marked a pivotal moment in Azzam's life. Getting up close to wildlife inspired him to immortalise the scenes. He threw himself into learning photography and developing his skills.

Off the coast of Qatar, Azzam's images of the largest gathering of whale sharks in the world garnered international acclaim. Just over four years later, his photographs of 200 hundred mammals swimming together were featured in National Geographic and Netflix.

“When I take a picture, I always try to ensure that it has this sort of soul momentum in it, that it is not just a rigid picture. I see my work as communicating with the audience, not only through the visualisation, but also through key messages”, Azzam told the Dialogue.

Azzam Al Mannai is truly inspirational, he has swam tiger sharks, orcas, stingrays, and sperm whales all over the globe. On dry land, he's photographed gorillas in Rwanda and expanded his portfolio to include humans too. Next on his bucket list are North India, Amazonia, and Patagonia, where he plans to capture snow leopards, jaguars, and pumas in their natural habitat.

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