Mohamed Altoum (Credit: Siddig Zaki)
I first came across Mohamed AlToum at an event organized by the group “To Sudan with Love” in Ramadan 2012. When he wasn’t squinting behind the shutter, he was helping with the sorting out and packaging of the food items – always with a dashing smile.
We met again in various events and he always had the brightest smile – a little surprising for a photographer. In contrast to other photographers being in the shadows as spectators – with furrowed eyebrows checking the preview of their latest snapped photo – AlToum always had transcending presence, moving smoothly from spectator to avid volunteer or conversationalist.
I had a chance to chat with AlToum, born and bred in Khartoum and a computer science graduate turned savvy photographer with a dashing smile.
Omnia: How did you begin your photography journey?
Mohamed AlToum: It’s the kind of thing you like because of many aspects – things, people and emotions draw you in. I had always been curious about art in its many forms. My journey with photography began as an extension to this adoration, almost two and a half years ago – so I see myself as a newbie. I began by attempting to captivate details and people’s emotions, and I always believed that a picture can hold more truth than words.
O: How did your network expand?
M: I got my first camera (Nikon D90) and met Ala Kheir who supported me as a godfather would. I met other photographers at the Flowers Festival and got to know them and work with them from then on. We all connected on the Flickr group (established in 2007) and then Facebook group (established in 2009). Now Sudanese Photographers is huge, covering different events and types of photography.
It’s definitely great connecting with similar-minded people and sharing knowledge and tips. We are a closely knit group with our own social outings as well as workshops to enhance our skills and share it with others who want to learn photography. We collaborate and volunteer with many civil society initiatives and try to serve their goals by documenting the beautiful projects and humanitarian work they undertake.
O: Are you in touch with regional or international photography groups?
M: The past year was eventful; Ala Kheir represented the group at the Trans-African Photographic Initiative: Invisible Borders. In December 2012, fellow Sudanese photographer Dr. Mohamed Egami won an award at the Emirates International Photography Competition. He represented us well and more of us are now encouraged to submit their work internationally. The group is planning to expand its network further, both regionally and internationally to enhance our skills and showcase Sudanese photography to the world.
O: AlToum, your own smile makes some of us want to flip the camera towards you to capture your enthusiasm and passion. What do you look for when you’re about to snap a picture through your lens?
M: That’s a difficult question. I look for a simple person, someone who has accepted his fate and tries to give back to his community as much as he or she can. I look for the details and try to relay the depth of truth and goodness beyond people’s eyes, or even their simple being.
It is easy finding AlToum at an event, he’s the guy with the camera and that kind, inviting smile that only few can offer strangers. He’s also the sensitive volunteer who is ever generous with kind and encouraging words to the stressed out organizers. AlToum is the talented photographer who seeks feelings that are valuable beyond their moment.
AlToum Photography on Facebook
Sudanese Photographers on Facebook
Such a fascinating pictures the specific details and the Purity make you feel the picture
amazing smile, and beautiful soul with genius lens
that’s Mohammed Altoum 🙂
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