Hosein challenges budding photographers

Ameer Hosein in a self portrait with one of his favourite cameras. Photo courtesy Ameer Hosein
Ameer Hosein in a self portrait with one of his favourite cameras. Photo courtesy Ameer Hosein

A contest with a twist is making waves on social media.

Photographer Ameer Hosein has put his own spin on a photography challenge. The original challenge is to photograph a model on location in five minutes with no preparation time.

Hosein has taken it a step further, as he incorporates budding photographers and uses locations across TT.

He said, “I wanted to put my own local flavour on the challenge, while giving up-and-coming-photographers an opportunity for exposure.”

Hosein, 28, lives in Las Lomas. The eldest of his mother’s three children, he grew up with his grandmother, as his mother, who made Carnival costumes, travelled frequently. His father died when he was ten.

He attended the Las Lomas RC Primary School, then ASJA Boys’ College in Charlieville.“After that I never went back to school again. As a creative person, a classroom ties me down.”

Instead, Hosein did a photography course taught by Gary Jordan.

His uncle Ecliff Elie, a local clothing designer who specialises in men’s suits, saw an ad for the course. He offered to pay for Hosein to do it. In the end they both did it, “which has helped both him and me get to where we are now.

Terincya Owen, Ameer Hosein’s model from the first episode of his photo challenge series, at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain. Photo courtesy Ameer Hosein

“After I finished school I bought myself a camera. I’m not good with my hands, but it just so happened that my artistic and creative talent is photography.”

Hosein has now been a professional photographer for ten years.“I don’t even like cricket or sports, but the first job I had was to shoot a cricket match for lime.tt.”

While he says he can photograph anything, he has a passion for fashion photography.

“You can tell a story with clothing and emotion. That is what I like to capture.

“As a photographer I always say, ‘I don’t shoot pictures; I shoot emotions, I don’t sell pictures; I sell an experience,’”

Hosein has worked with personalities and brands such as Elie, Destra Garcia, Keshorn Walcott and Desha Rambajan. His pictures are used in commercials, websites and publicity campaigns.

He has over 11,000 followers on Instagram and his photo challenge series has exceeded 3,000 views per episode. While there is no prize for being featured in his series, photographers gain experience, exposure and job opportunities.

Ameer Hosein's photograph of Kess the Illusionist with a white dove. Photo courtesy Ameer Hosein

Asked what he does to get ready for a photo shoot, he said, “I have anxiety. Before any shoot I take a very hot or cold shower, which sort of gets me into character.”

Hosein said he becomes a different person behind the camera.“There is a difference between Ameer, and Ameer Hosein. Ameer Hosein has a bunch of energy, he could put on a show and tell people what to do. Regular Ameer is shy.”When he’s not behind the camera he often wears hats, glasses and his mask in hopes of going unnoticed.

“The one thing about Ameer Hosein is, he gets tiring. After getting into character, my body crashes.”

One day he hopes to become a Nikon ambassador– photographers certified by Nikon, they use Nikon equipment and represent the company’s creative capabilities while retaining the rights to their work.

Ameer Hosein’s photo of designer Ecliff Elie in Port of Spain. Photo courtesy Ameer Hosein

Photographers who inspire him include Jerry Ghionos of Australia and Nyla Singh of TT.

“They put their best foot forward and have appreciation for the art. Ghionos is a Nikon ambassador and I am a Nikon photographer. Singh has been like a big sister to me since the first day we met.”

Hosein’s challenge is a monthly series. His ultimate goal is to have a local or regional television network pick it up and air the episodes. On March 27 he released his third episode, featuring Jabari David. His first episode featured Vijay Mack and the second featured Charlie Silver.

Asked why he chose these photographers to start his series he said, “Silver and David came to me, and Mack I knew years before. They are all spectacular photographers in the industry. I was happy to feature them as they are doing phenomenal work and deserve more recognition.”

On selecting a photographer to feature, he said, “Photographers have been reaching out and some of them are ones I’ve come across on my own.”

A new episode every month features videography by Thruston Benny and includes behind-the-scenes glimpses and bloopers.

Ameer Hosein's photo of model Maria Enika in a dress designed by Azizah The Brand. Photo courtesy Ameer Hosein

“Each episode costs me on average $3,000. It’s done out of pocket because it’s something I want to do. I would like to have sponsors, though, as the cost is heavy, and sponsors can get good exposure with the series, too.”

Asked what advice he would give to new photographers he said, “The photography industry is a very difficult one, because sometimes photographers withhold information. I am an open book, I post behind-the-scenes videos and I’m always open for questions.”

Ameer Hosein as a model for Devi Nath wearing a suit designed by Ecliff Elie. Photo courtesy Ameer Hosein

Hosein is inviting young or budding photographers with questions to contact him via his Instagram page @ameerhoseintt for tips and advice.


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