Muscat: With serene and calm shots of mosques in black and white, Soud Al Buhriy has a message portraying purity and peace through his photos.
‘The Spirit of Cohesion’, his latest series, depicts 22 mosques from throughout the Sultanate in black and white, which, according to Al Buhriy, are not just venues where Muslims pray five times a day, but also locations that play a role by sharing knowledge and acting as educational centres.
“A mosque is a place to become acquainted and make friends with fellow worshipers, which would eventually lead to the formation of close family ties and help in building community cohesion. I want people to change their perceptions and see them as social places, because they are so much deeper.
“From the old times, mosques were known to be learning centres, which shaped people’s behaviours and built friends. If you go to a desert with no inhabitants and build a mosque there, you will find, in a few years’ time, that people will start to live around the area.”
Al Buhriy works at the Oman Cement company in a technical role, but that has not stopped him from becoming creative with his lens. He first started taking photos in 1986 while he was still at school, and over the years he has been experimenting with his camera and has taken some extraordinary
The mosque project, his latest, was completed over a period of two years with Soud traveling across Oman with his camera in hand, stopping to analyse mosques he came across and deciding whether they should be part of his project.
“It took me two years to complete this project, and I travelled everywhere, except to Salalah. I wanted to go there, too, but it didn’t happen for some reason.
“I wanted this project to consist of both newer mosques and other, smaller ones, too.”
Saud kept the frames of his mosque photos white because he wanted to show the purity associated with them. “People normally choose black frames to make photos look stronger, but I wanted it to be white because mosques are so pure and I wanted to convey that message.
“I also kept a larger space for the clouds in my photos because it is a general tendency for humans, when they leave a mosque, to look to the sky to the Almighty, who is their constant source of motivation and energy. I also have the photos printed in black and white because they are more emotional,” Al Burhiy added.
The Spirit of Cohesion will be on display from January 3 until February 4 at Gallery Sarah at Bait Al Zubair.