The work of a photographer is akin to a birthing process for Jaber Al Azmeh. The Doha-based Syrian artist is romanticising his craft with this comparison, one that has allowed him to gain some perspective on highly emotional situations. A case in point is his last solo show at Dubai’s Green Art Gallery, Border-Lines, held between May-June 2016, which deliberately and thoughtfully explored the roots and legacy of war—though this was not initially Al Azmeh’s plan.
Quite the contrary, in fact. While his previous bodies of work, such as Wounds (2012) and Ba’ath (2014), were a direct reaction to the confict in Syria, Border-Lines was born out of his need to distance himself from the horrors that continue to grip his home country. The photographer fled his home and studio fve years ago and relocated 30 kilometres outside of the capital Damascus, on a plot of land in the countryside. ‘I don’t like cities,’ he says, referring to the exhibition’s focus on desert scenes. ‘I love quietness, I love nature, and in Doha, nature is embodied through the desert. I fell in love with it instantly.’ His photographs began as visual experimentations; purely aesthetic ones at that.