Photograph of a Sufi mystic sitting on a railway track in Sahiwal, Pakistan, by Sohail Karmani. Courtesy Sohail Karmani
Photograph of a Sufi mystic sitting on a railway track in Sahiwal, Pakistan, by Sohail Karmani. Courtesy Sohail Karmani

NYUAD professor and ace photographer Sohail Karmani’s focus is on Pakistan



Sohail Karmani points out that everyone is interested in photography these days. You only have to glance around a mall and count how many people are taking selfies, he says, chuckling.

People’s curiosity about photography is not a new phenomenon. But to take that curiosity and develop it into a career that makes professionals worldwide sit up and take note is no easy feat.

The 50-year-old linguist and professor, who has been teaching in the UAE for the past 20 years, was recently a contestant on the European reality TV show, Master of Photography. Being a British national, the Abu Dhabi-based Karmani was eligible to apply for the show, and was eventually selected from among thousands of photographers to join a group of 12 contestants to participate in the second season, which is currently airing on Sky Arts in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Italy and Austria.

Last week, on the third episode, Karmani was voted off after a challenge that involved taking a portrait of actor Clive Owen. He had won the previous week’s challenge of taking a striking photo of the rush hour in the German city of Hamburg.

Nevertheless, Karmani credits the experience for boosting his confidence. “When I heard about the show, I thought, ‘I can do this’,” he says.

Karmani began his photographic journey only four years ago when fiddling with his DSLR camera. “I got into still photography and specifically portraits. I thought it was a beautiful art form and started teaching myself; I loved the aesthetics of it. I developed an appreciation of the beauty of photographs, and how powerful they can be as a medium.”

Although Karmani is of a Pakistani origin – his parents left Pakistan for the UK in the 1950s – he had never been there before, and decided to visit the country of his ancestry in 2010, considering its proximity to the UAE.

“I went there for the first time knowing nothing about the country, with no expectations,” says Karmani.

“I was fascinated by the place: the colours, the smells, the vibrancy, the warmth of the people. And it’s so untouched by globalisation. It’s like nothing has changed in perhaps the last 100 years or more.”

That first visit prompted a sort of obsession with the country, and Karmani began returning to Pakistan for visits as often as he could.

Then, when he began flirting with photography in 2013, Pakistan and its people became his camera’s favourite subjects. “Turning Pakistan into my photography project became an opportunity for me to get to know the country and learn about it and document it. I’ve grown as a photographer in Pakistan; it’s really where I’ve learnt my craft.”

Karmani is not alone in that respect. Some of the leading photographers of the 20th century created some of their best works in Pakistan: American photographer Steve McCurry, whose famous Afghan Girl portrait in 1984, was shot in Pakistan; Spanish photographer Fernando Morales and his striking images of child labourers in Pakistan; and Palestinian photographer Muhammed Muheisen, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer based in Pakistan, works for the Associated Press.

“There’s something about Pakistan which lends itself to amazing photography,” says Karmani.

“It’s a place of great visual beauty. I come back with really impactful imagery every time.”

Karmani’s work is predominantly made of striking portraits of people he happens to meet during his travels. Street photography, he says, is his main interest.

However, the whole point of his approach is to simply tell a good story. “A good photo is something you want to look at, but it also has to tell a story,” he says.

“It has to move you in some way and connect with the viewer, and convey something about the person or environment that the photo has captured.”

With a portfolio of some 140 photos set in Pakistan, Milan (his wife’s home city) and the UAE, Karmani has won a few competitions and has a significant online presence, with over 40,000 following him on Flickr.

He in now planning to fuse this personal interest with his professional career. A senior lecturer in the arts and humanities department at New York University Abu Dhabi, where he teaches a course on the contemporary politics of Islam, Karmani will begin the new academic year in August by teaching a course put together out of his interest in photography.

His course, on the power and ethics in photography, was enthusiastically supported by his colleagues.

“NYU has been very crucial in terms of helping me nurture this interest and develop it further,” says Karmani.

“It’s photography from an academic and artistic perspective. We will look at the ethical issues around photography in the modern day, how photographs can convey certain meanings, how images have an effect on how we understand the world.”

artslife@thenational.ae

How being social media savvy can improve your well being

Next time when procastinating online remember that you can save thousands on paying for a personal trainer and a gym membership simply by watching YouTube videos and keeping up with the latest health tips and trends.

As social media apps are becoming more and more consumed by health experts and nutritionists who are using it to awareness and encourage patients to engage in physical activity.

Elizabeth Watson, a personal trainer from Stay Fit gym in Abu Dhabi suggests that “individuals can use social media as a means of keeping fit, there are a lot of great exercises you can do and train from experts at home just by watching videos on YouTube”.

Norlyn Torrena, a clinical nutritionist from Burjeel Hospital advises her clients to be more technologically active “most of my clients are so engaged with their phones that I advise them to download applications that offer health related services”.

Torrena said that “most people believe that dieting and keeping fit is boring”.

However, by using social media apps keeping fit means that people are “modern and are kept up to date with the latest heath tips and trends”.

“It can be a guide to a healthy lifestyle and exercise if used in the correct way, so I really encourage my clients to download health applications” said Mrs Torrena.

People can also connect with each other and exchange “tips and notes, it’s extremely healthy and fun”.

LAST-16 FIXTURES

Sunday, January 20
3pm: Jordan v Vietnam at Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai
6pm: Thailand v China at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain
9pm: Iran v Oman at Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Monday, January 21
3pm: Japan v Saudi Arabia at Sharjah Stadium
6pm: Australia v Uzbekistan at Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain
9pm: UAE v Kyrgyzstan at Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Tuesday, January 22
5pm: South Korea v Bahrain at Rashid Stadium, Dubai
8pm: Qatar v Iraq at Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Hili 2: Unesco World Heritage site

The site is part of the Hili archaeological park in Al Ain. Excavations there have proved the existence of the earliest known agricultural communities in modern-day UAE. Some date to the Bronze Age but Hili 2 is an Iron Age site. The Iron Age witnessed the development of the falaj, a network of channels that funnelled water from natural springs in the area. Wells allowed settlements to be established, but falaj meant they could grow and thrive. Unesco, the UN's cultural body, awarded Al Ain's sites - including Hili 2 - world heritage status in 2011. Now the most recent dig at the site has revealed even more about the skilled people that lived and worked there.

Key findings
  • Over a period of seven years, a team of scientists analysed dietary data from 50,000 North American adults.
  • Eating one or two meals a day was associated with a relative decrease in BMI, compared with three meals. Snacks count as a meal. Likewise, participants who ate more than three meals a day experienced an increase in BMI: the more meals a day, the greater the increase.
  • People who ate breakfast experienced a relative decrease in their BMI compared with “breakfast-skippers”.
  • Those who turned the eating day on its head to make breakfast the biggest meal of the day, did even better.
  • But scrapping dinner altogether gave the best results. The study found that the BMI of subjects who had a long overnight fast (of 18 hours or more) decreased when compared even with those who had a medium overnight fast, of between 12 and 17 hours.
COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

TWISTERS

Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5

Long read
CREW

Director: Rajesh A Krishnan

Starring: Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon

Rating: 3.5/5

World Cup League Two

Results

Oman beat Nepal by 18 runs

Oman beat United States by six wickets

Nepal beat United States by 35 runs

Oman beat Nepal by eight wickets

 

Fixtures

Tuesday, Oman v United States

Wednesday, Nepal v United States

 

Company Profile

Name: Raha
Started: 2022
Based: Kuwait/Saudi
Industry: Tech Logistics
Funding: $14 million
Investors: Soor Capital, eWTP Arabia Capital, Aujan Enterprises, Nox Management, Cedar Mundi Ventures
Number of employees: 166

ICC Awards for 2021+

MEN

Cricketer of the Year+– Shaheen Afridi+(Pakistan)

T20 Cricketer of the Year+– Mohammad Rizwan+(Pakistan)

ODI Cricketer of the Year+– Babar Azam+(Pakistan)

Test Cricketer of the Year+– Joe Root+(England)

WOMEN

Cricketer of the Year+– Smriti Mandhana+(India)

ODI Cricketer of the Year+– Lizelle Lee+(South Africa)

T20 Cricketer of the Year+– Tammy Beaumont+(England)

Essentials

The flights
Whether you trek after mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda or the Congo, the most convenient international airport is in Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. There are direct flights from Dubai a couple of days a week with RwandAir. Otherwise, an indirect route is available via Nairobi with Kenya Airways. Flydubai flies to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, via Entebbe in Uganda. Expect to pay from US$350 (Dh1,286) return, including taxes.
The tours
Superb ape-watching tours that take in all three gorilla countries mentioned above are run by Natural World Safaris. In September, the company will be operating a unique Ugandan ape safari guided by well-known primatologist Ben Garrod.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, local operator Kivu Travel can organise pretty much any kind of safari throughout the Virunga National Park and elsewhere in eastern Congo.

About Okadoc

Date started: Okadoc, 2018

Founder/CEO: Fodhil Benturquia

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Healthcare

Size: (employees/revenue) 40 staff; undisclosed revenues recording “double-digit” monthly growth

Funding stage: Series B fundraising round to conclude in February

Investors: Undisclosed

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

Essentials

The flights
Etihad and Emirates fly direct from the UAE to Delhi from about Dh950 return including taxes.
The hotels
Double rooms at Tijara Fort-Palace cost from 6,670 rupees (Dh377), including breakfast.
Doubles at Fort Bishangarh cost from 29,030 rupees (Dh1,641), including breakfast. Doubles at Narendra Bhawan cost from 15,360 rupees (Dh869). Doubles at Chanoud Garh cost from 19,840 rupees (Dh1,122), full board. Doubles at Fort Begu cost from 10,000 rupees (Dh565), including breakfast.
The tours 
Amar Grover travelled with Wild Frontiers. A tailor-made, nine-day itinerary via New Delhi, with one night in Tijara and two nights in each of the remaining properties, including car/driver, costs from £1,445 (Dh6,968) per person.

THE BIO

Family: I have three siblings, one older brother (age 25) and two younger sisters, 20 and 13 

Favourite book: Asking for my favourite book has to be one of the hardest questions. However a current favourite would be Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier

Favourite place to travel to: Any walkable city. I also love nature and wildlife 

What do you love eating or cooking: I’m constantly in the kitchen. Ever since I changed the way I eat I enjoy choosing and creating what goes into my body. However, nothing can top home cooked food from my parents. 

Favorite place to go in the UAE: A quiet beach.

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Tax authority targets shisha levy evasion

The Federal Tax Authority will track shisha imports with electronic markers to protect customers and ensure levies have been paid.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, director of the tax authority, on Sunday said the move is to "prevent tax evasion and support the authority’s tax collection efforts".

The scheme’s first phase, which came into effect on 1st January, 2019, covers all types of imported and domestically produced and distributed cigarettes. As of May 1, importing any type of cigarettes without the digital marks will be prohibited.

He said the latest phase will see imported and locally produced shisha tobacco tracked by the final quarter of this year.

"The FTA also maintains ongoing communication with concerned companies, to help them adapt their systems to meet our requirements and coordinate between all parties involved," he said.

As with cigarettes, shisha was hit with a 100 per cent tax in October 2017, though manufacturers and cafes absorbed some of the costs to prevent prices doubling.

Important questions to consider

1. Where on the plane does my pet travel?

There are different types of travel available for pets:

  • Manifest cargo
  • Excess luggage in the hold
  • Excess luggage in the cabin

Each option is safe. The feasibility of each option is based on the size and breed of your pet, the airline they are traveling on and country they are travelling to.

 

2. What is the difference between my pet traveling as manifest cargo or as excess luggage?

If traveling as manifest cargo, your pet is traveling in the front hold of the plane and can travel with or without you being on the same plane. The cost of your pets travel is based on volumetric weight, in other words, the size of their travel crate.

If traveling as excess luggage, your pet will be in the rear hold of the plane and must be traveling under the ticket of a human passenger. The cost of your pets travel is based on the actual (combined) weight of your pet in their crate.

 

3. What happens when my pet arrives in the country they are traveling to?

As soon as the flight arrives, your pet will be taken from the plane straight to the airport terminal.

If your pet is traveling as excess luggage, they will taken to the oversized luggage area in the arrival hall. Once you clear passport control, you will be able to collect them at the same time as your normal luggage. As you exit the airport via the ‘something to declare’ customs channel you will be asked to present your pets travel paperwork to the customs official and / or the vet on duty. 

If your pet is traveling as manifest cargo, they will be taken to the Animal Reception Centre. There, their documentation will be reviewed by the staff of the ARC to ensure all is in order. At the same time, relevant customs formalities will be completed by staff based at the arriving airport. 

 

4. How long does the travel paperwork and other travel preparations take?

This depends entirely on the location that your pet is traveling to. Your pet relocation compnay will provide you with an accurate timeline of how long the relevant preparations will take and at what point in the process the various steps must be taken.

In some cases they can get your pet ‘travel ready’ in a few days. In others it can be up to six months or more.

 

5. What vaccinations does my pet need to travel?

Regardless of where your pet is traveling, they will need certain vaccinations. The exact vaccinations they need are entirely dependent on the location they are traveling to. The one vaccination that is mandatory for every country your pet may travel to is a rabies vaccination.

Other vaccinations may also be necessary. These will be advised to you as relevant. In every situation, it is essential to keep your vaccinations current and to not miss a due date, even by one day. To do so could severely hinder your pets travel plans.

Source: Pawsome Pets UAE

The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 299hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 420Nm at 2,750rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 12.4L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh157,395 (XLS); Dh199,395 (Limited)

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

The more serious side of specialty coffee

While the taste of beans and freshness of roast is paramount to the specialty coffee scene, so is sustainability and workers’ rights.

The bulk of genuine specialty coffee companies aim to improve on these elements in every stage of production via direct relationships with farmers. For instance, Mokha 1450 on Al Wasl Road strives to work predominantly with women-owned and -operated coffee organisations, including female farmers in the Sabree mountains of Yemen.

Because, as the boutique’s owner, Garfield Kerr, points out: “women represent over 90 per cent of the coffee value chain, but are woefully underrepresented in less than 10 per cent of ownership and management throughout the global coffee industry.”

One of the UAE’s largest suppliers of green (meaning not-yet-roasted) beans, Raw Coffee, is a founding member of the Partnership of Gender Equity, which aims to empower female coffee farmers and harvesters.

Also, globally, many companies have found the perfect way to recycle old coffee grounds: they create the perfect fertile soil in which to grow mushrooms. 

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Nausea
Vomiting
Swollen glands
Rash

Crazy Rich Asians

Director: Jon M Chu

Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeon, Gemma Chan

Four stars

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Quick pearls of wisdom

Focus on gratitude: And do so deeply, he says. “Think of one to three things a day that you’re grateful for. It needs to be specific, too, don’t just say ‘air.’ Really think about it. If you’re grateful for, say, what your parents have done for you, that will motivate you to do more for the world.”

Know how to fight: Shetty married his wife, Radhi, three years ago (he met her in a meditation class before he went off and became a monk). He says they’ve had to learn to respect each other’s “fighting styles” – he’s a talk it-out-immediately person, while she needs space to think. “When you’re having an argument, remember, it’s not you against each other. It’s both of you against the problem. When you win, they lose. If you’re on a team you have to win together.” 

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

MATCH INFO

Burnley 0

Man City 3

Raheem Sterling 35', 49'

Ferran Torres 65'