My UAE: Mohammed Ahli’s picture-perfect ambitions

A profile of the Emirati photographer Mohammed Ahli.
Mohammed Ahli, who is a keen nature photographer. Satish Kumar / The National
Mohammed Ahli, who is a keen nature photographer. Satish Kumar / The National

For as long as Mohammed Ahli remembers, he has loved nature. The 25-year-old Emirati from Dubai would sit for hours in front of a cave or in the desert and admire the texture and shadows Mother Nature left on her subjects.

“I see a lot of mystery in nature. I love discovering it more and more and then capturing it on my camera,” says Ahli. Five years ago, he got his first camera – he hasn’t stopped taking photos since.

The young photographer went back to scenes he remembered from childhood, such as a cave he saw in Salalah, Oman, and rediscovered them with his camera.

“I would always sit on a rock near the sea and dream of travelling and exploring, and now I am living that dream,” says the Dubai Men’s College graduate.

He posts his images and small stories about what he learnt from taking them on his Instagram account, Mohdaahli.

“I always learn something new from nature. I don’t like taking portraits of people, as I don’t feel I discover anything new, especially if they are posing,” he says. “Taking photos of animals, I learn a lot about how they move, how they eat, how their eyes change and how different emotions are expressed.”

Working for Emirates as a product and new services specialists, Ahli travels a lot. He has visited New Zealand, Australia, the Seychelles and, most recently, Iceland, where he compiled images and turned them into a YouTube video.

“I took the challenge of taking photos in horrible weather, in blizzards. I suffered a lot, but it was a great experience,” he says.

His ultimate dream is to work for National Geographic ­magazine.

“I took a whole course on weather and astronomy, so that I can understand nature more and take better photos of it,” he says. “I love nature and all its moods.”

My dream job

Being one of National Geographic magazine’s photographers.

My childhood inspiration

National Geographic magazine. It inspired me to discover the world.

My favourite pastime

I am very active. I do CrossFit, the gym, fencing, soccer and water sports. I like to spend time learning something new, and taking part in adventures such as sky diving [pictured].

My favourite movie

Awake, a 2007 American conspiracy thriller. I liked the twist in the movie and how [it shows that] people will do anything to get money.

My favourite music?

I love instrumental music, classics such as Beethoven, and the soundtrack from The Lion King movie.

My favourite book

I don’t read books. I know they are important, but it depresses me to stay in one place to focus.

My favourite television shows

Game of Thrones [pictured], Two and A Half Men and Friends.

My advice to young Emiratis

Don’t learn the easy way; learn the hard way. When I learnt photography, I wanted to practise myself, not just take a course.

My favourite actor

Leonardo DiCaprio [pictured] – he faces things in his roles that I always think about. And Tom Hanks. The only actor who can act in all types of movies: funny, adventurous, serious.

My favourite dishes

Food is my hobby. I love food, not fast food. I love steak, pasta, sushi, risotto. I love everything to do with food.

I would describe myself as...

I am adventurous, funny and I always try new things. I don’t like to sit and do nothing.

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Published: November 6, 2014 04:00 AM


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