From school dropout to photographer – Salim Mohamed never gave up on his dreams
By Lakhram Bhagirat
Success is the product of hard work, determination and dedication and those are the ingredients that Salim Mohamed values the most. It led him to use his struggles as a drive to fuel his lifelong passion of getting into the creative industry.
The 26-year-old hails from the village of Hague Jib on the West Coast of Demerara (WCD) and has been a professional photographer for just about three years. The journey to get there has been one that was filled with bumps along the way. However, those bumps are what fuels the burning desire for him to be among the greats in the world.
“Life has its ups and downs, but despite the various challenges, I can definitely say that I made it through. I can recall the most heartbreaking moment of my life growing up was when I lost my grandmother who was very dear to me. That is when I realise how life is. Here today and gone tomorrow. There will always be challenges in life but I learnt to overcome them by staying strong and understanding that it will pass. It is just a matter of time,” he said.
Mohamed, owing to a number of factors, was never able to formally complete his education. However, it did not stop him from pursuing trade courses such as electrical installation, IT technician, auto engineering and graphics. His drive to continuously improve his skills led him to discover his talent in photography.
“I can reminisce growing up I found interest in editing photos. I downloaded a lot of editing apps like lightroom, snapseed, canva, etc on my phone and had my friends sending me their pictures to edit. I enjoyed editing and from there on I developed my passion for photography.
“I was also inspired by all of Saajid Husani work. I admire his work a lot and I hope that one day I will produce work as good as his. The thing about photography that I love is that we are able to capture best moments of our lives that we do not want to forget. I am always excited to share my clients’ special moments with them. It has been years since I am doing photography as a full-time profession and not one day it felt like work.
“The first picture I took and edited was scenery of the Soesdyke Highway. Because of my passion for photography, I placed 100 per cent of my efforts into it. My intention was always to make it my full-time profession. I had the full support from my family and friends and I thank them for their continued support,” he said.
When he first got into photography, the first challenge was getting people to recognise his work as a photographer. At first, the jobs only came from family and friends but he knew in order for him to make it, he would have to put himself out there for the world to see.
That was how he began to market his service on social media.
“I worked tirelessly to gain that trust and thus most of my work was from family members. I used Facebook as a medium of getting my work out there and upon seeing my work that is when I started getting calls from outsiders to shoot weddings, birthdays and other special events. To build my brand was a challenge by itself because there are so many other photographers, and I used to ask myself why people would choose a freshman in photography over someone who has more experience. That, I overcome and trusted in myself and my work. Another challenge of recent is that due to the pandemic work is not available as it used to. Most weddings that were already booked got cancelled along with so many other events,” Mohamed recounted.
To this day he continues to work on building his brand.
“Within the next five years, I am hoping to build my studio so that I can commence my indoor photo sessions. In addition to capturing still photos, I also aspire to go into videography as well. With my photography experience, one of my dreams is to travel the world capturing different sceneries and work with people from different culture thus building friendly relationships. I love meeting and interacting with different people and with photography, it permits me to do so.
“My advice to young people that are hoping to chase their dreams is to always keep working despite the many challenges that will come their way and yes, there will be lots of challenges. Do not be discouraged about what other people think, feel or say about your work. Keep being you, keep working and you will get there someday. Also never forget to put God first and trust his timings.”
To contact Mohamed you can visit his Facebook page – Salim Mohamed Photography or call him on 688-2779.