If you are from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, chances are that you have heard the name Khwaja Saaed or have at least come across a stunning photograph shot by him. With a growing fan following from across the province, 29-year-old Khwaja Saaed is a budding photographer AND shoopkeper who hails from Charbagh, Swat.
A passionate photographer, Khwajas’s talents seem to have no bounds as he also likes to skii and paraglide in his spare time. Starting from a very young age, he has traveled the peaks and streets of Pakistan’s northen areas, capturing incredible scenery, vintage architecture, and images of rural bustle, hoping to shine a light on parts of the war-torn Swat that we all may take for granted sometimes.
PashtoScoop Media caught up with Saeed about what inspires him to pick up the camera every day. Here’s what he shared:
“I was naturally inclined towards aesthetics and was fond of photography since my childhood. However I started practicing it in 2015 and was appreciated a lot back then which motivated me further to excel in this field.”
When asked about his biggest inspiration, Saeed named a local photographer whose work inspires the Swati photographer the most. “I am very much inspired by the work of Usman Bukhari; a legend photographer belonging to Kohat. The majority of his work is focused on Swat and in my opinion he is the one who promulgated the positive picture of Swat in his extravagant and matchless photography.”
“I am involved in business concerned with trading. Photography and videography are my hobbies so I am left only with Friday to fulfill it,” Khwaja says.
“This hobby (nature photography) requires much hard work whereby I have to leave for a destined location early in the morning on Friday and cover 3 to 6 hours hiking track.”
“Often I return late night the same day followed by early morning rejoin of my business activities. So it’s very hard to manage for these activities but photography is my passion and passion is what drives me.”
Saeed was hoping to join an art school but for some reasons, he couldn’t.
“I wished to join an art school in order to polish my skills but due to many reasons I couldn’t make it,” said the 29 year old trader-cum-photographer.
When we asked about what message he would like to give to people interested in pursuing a career in photography, he said: “I will advise the youngsters to grasp formal background in this field so that they may better be able to excel in it.”
Khwaja Saeed has a keen eye on the new of Photography in Pakistan and hopes for better days to come
“The current trends in photography are quite encouraging. Social media has accelerated the positives of this trend in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Our province has been bestowed with blessings and pictureseque beauty and not capturing it through the lens would be plain unjust.”
“People are shifting from selfies to purposeful captures, to highlight the beauty and landscape of our province. Apart from this the issue based photography has also contributed to the social promotions as a photo is often worth more than a book.”
When it comes to his favorite photo, Khwaja described a stunning drone shot he took of Skyland
“There’s a place in Swat valley called Skyland, also known as Saland. I believe it is the most underrated place in the entire valley. Fog and clouds on top play here with full swing and cover the entire place in seconds. Little cotton-like clouds come here very often from different directions and I love seeing people enjoying playing cricket here and experiencing the wonders of mother nature at its best.”
There’s no doubt that this particular picture could conjure up that dream for anyone. Pretty mesmerizing!
With this in mind, when asked about how he plans to cultivate his talents, Khwaja adamantly narrated his plans to promote his work as well as try skiing and paragliding:
“I want to promote my work to an international level to advance the positive image of my nation through my work,” he said.
“The technological advancements are paced at a speed that it is hard to catch up. I want to follow some of these tools especially drone FPV so that I might not be left behind.”
“Apart from this (photography), I also want to probe into skiing and paragliding however due to time and opportunity scarcity I am not able to follow it.”
He believes favoritism exists in his line of work as well and hopes the authorities take action
“I would like to request to authorities to facilitate the ambitious and competent lot of our country in the venerated task of positive image promotion of our country as there are a lot of accessibility issues in different areas especially Gilgit Baltistan. The procedures adopted for this purpose are very tiring and full of referrals and favoritism.”
“Apart from that, there needs a conscious and evidence-based policy measures for the extension of market tourism activities to the less-accessed natural landscapes as insensible excursions are leading to devastate our assets bitterly,” he added.
I personally feel Khwaja is absolutely kicking ass at what he’s dabbled in and here’s hoping he keeps climbing the ladder of success.
What do you guys think about him? Let us know in the comments.