Altamash Javed (better known online as ALJVD) is a photographer based in Dubai.
Tell us a bit about yourself, who are you and where are you from?
I’m Altamash, but I’m probably better known as ALJVD. I’m from Pakistan, but born in Abu Dhabi, and brought up right here in the Middle East. I am currently based in Dubai – since 2004!
What kind of photography do you practice and what kind of stories do you like to tell?
Photography started out as a hobby, that I did briefly turn into a profession. Today I manage a team of photographers and handle the strategic part of that business. However, when needed, I do shoot if the project makes sense to me.
This helps me re-focus on photography as a hobby. I do not have any genre I focus on. I just shoot from the heart. Unique moments that make me literally pause in my tracks is what I enjoy the most.
How did your photography journey begin?
I was in a bit of a cross roads in life and needed to get out of the mundane. I’ve always enjoyed the art world so one day when HIPA announced that they are hosting the great Reza for a talk I decided to get out of my introvert shell and go listen to him. I did not know what to expect, but I can tell you I came out baffled by the power of photography. After that, I started joining “instameets” met a great community and the journey continues.
What is your biggest source of inspiration and influence?
I don’t know what my source is. Some subjects I am obsessed with are the sun and moon. Framing them in all kinds of ways is something of a challenge and I love to do it. I am very go with the flow. When we had the lockdown I decided to document the emptiness of the city. If there is a milestone in the city such as opening of museum or something I like to document it. Sometimes I like shooting humans, which I rarely post. So I will go full street photographer mode or get some friends to shoot. Really, all over the place.
What is the biggest goal you hope to achieve with your work?
Circling back to the Reza talk I went to, I want at least one of my pictures have a major impact on a large scale problem.
I’ve had a photo help a mom who lost twins. I of course didn’t think much of that photo, but you just never know what makes an impact on someone. When she briefly told me her story I immediately gifted that image as a framed print for her. I hope it helps her everyday.
So, I keep creating and if it impacts someone or something in a good way – Great!
Are you working on any projects currently?
Very recently, I’ve decided to re-document Dubai and the other Emirates but from a very long lens and only from the car perspective. Works great with the heat. By the way, the car perspective is just another challenge because the symmetry part of me would need to get off the car and quite literally in some instances stand in the middle of the road to get the perfect shot. We are not doing that anymore. I want to document whatever I can (mostly buildings I guess) that pre dates 2000. Let’s see how it goes.
This is what I mean when I get a moment that stops me in my tracks. I had gone from Maghreb prayers and when I stepped out I looked up to see the beautiful crescent moon. As I walked to my car I saw alignment take place. I rushed to the car grab the camera you (fuji) kindly lent me shot in Auto with a color I liked (Astia Soft) and wallah – A magical moment captured.