If you need a perfect example of “when there’s a will, there’s a way,” Israa Ismail is the one. This young photographer from Egypt is visually impaired, but this didn’t stop her from taking photos. Instead, she learned how to use touch and sound and she relies on them for composing her shots.
Israa is a 22-year-old based in Alexandria, Egypt, where she takes photos mainly of daily life on the city streets. Her interest in photography began when she learned that she had to pass a photography assignment in order to study mass media. It was a challenge, but she didn’t let that discourage her.
The young photographer discovered an initiative founded by professor Khalid Farid. She told Reuters that the professor taught her how to take photos, starting with the “real” camera right away instead of first teaching her how to shoot with her phone.
While Israa cannot see through the viewfinder, she has her own ways of composing the shots. She uses touch to determine the dimensions of her subjects. She also asks them to speak to her so that she could determine precisely where they are. And as you can see in the video above, the method works for her quite well. She takes some nice shots without even being able to see them, and I’m beyond amazed by her skill and determination.
“It is really difficult,” she says, “but I liked to go through the experience and deal with people, to know more, to gain relationships, and to feel that I did something useful that I love.”
According to Teller Report, Israa is currently a graduate of the Department of Arabic Language and Literature. She hopes that her photo tour around Alexandria will give her enough experience to pass the assignment and open the door for her to work in journalism. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for her!