The idea behind the ‘Go Home’ project is making up for lost time using light, shadow, and the geometry of objects in space expressed through ostensibly absurd compositions in the manner of Dali, Man Ray, Hannah Höch and others in the Dada movement.
When I was 17, I decided that I wanted to do photography for a living, but my parents had not seen it as a career and wanted me to pursue something else and make them proud. I therefore studied architecture for a year and then advertising for 2 years, after which I took a break. I will never forget a hand-drawing exercise for one of my architecture classes. We had to measure every millimetre and draw with ink, spending 8 hours on one drawing, only to be told by my professor to do it all over again. I can look back on those lessons as being formative in my perfectionism as a photographer today. I am inspired by music; life experiences also play a big part in inspiring my work through heartbreak, difficult times, accepting loneliness, and allowing me to love myself and who I am.
As a Professional Photographer, I had plans to travel internationally this year but then COVID-19 hit and changed it all. I contacted some of my friends I had planned to shoot this year and we collaborated on making this series.
In general, I didn’t come into contact with anyone to create this set of images. I wanted to make use of what I have in my home to create interesting shots with no-one but myself. I first photographed myself, then I would send the ‘talent’ different poses and they would recreate theses poses remotely and I then retouched them into where I was and made it look like as though I shot them in my bedroom or on the beach outside.
In these images, I explore the idea of mental stability whilst living through lockdown. I couldn’t help but relate it to a rollercoaster of my own emotions, of never knowing when it will end with the highs and lows, the freedom then the restrictive rules. I wanted to recreate in images my feelings of being on an emotional rollercoaster. The chairs are iconic to my work and I often use them to convey emotions.
On one occasion I had a call with Salma, who is shown. We did the shoot for which I was supposed to cut out her head and put it on my body, but then weeks later she notified me that she will be coming to Dubai. At that time as Dubai was not in lockdown so I had the pleasure of bringing the image to life with less post-production by shooting her in my home.
Editor’s Note: Abdulla Elmaz is an international surrealist fashion photographer based in Dubai who recently celebrated turning 30. Born to Albanian and Turkish parents and raised in a small country town, Shepparton, Australia, he moved to Dubai a year ago. He has worked for brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Valentino and Gucci amongst others and published in Elle Magazine, Grazia and Vogue Middle East. He has recently won First Place in the “Fresh Fashion” category of the Agents Club Awards.
Other blogs in this series: