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“Raw Kingdom”: A 15-Year Love Letter Photography Project to Saudi Arabia

You might or might not have heard the name Faisal bin Zarah, but you have definitely seen his work around. His photographs have been featured around different Saudi Arabian ministries and public offices. Faisal has been taking cityscape, urban landscape. And architectural photography for 17 years.

Now in an exhibition titled “Raw Kingdom” the photographer showcases his work hoping to instil different feelings in his audience. He told a local news outlet what he wishes people would perceive of this work. “A photo that took me two years in the making should not be posted on a website or used for commercial or advertisement purposes. A better use of it is to consider it as a piece of fine art.”

The curation of the still images Faisal has taken truly invoke beauty and sense in every piece. His style is grounded in scenery and creating a certain pattern in his shots, whether it’s distinct elements or similar ones.

Raw Kingdom, which is actually his first solo exhibition, was curated in a way to create an exploratory journey through the kingdom. Dana Qabbani which was the brain behind the exhibition curation reported a local news outlet about implementing the photography gallery, “We chose the best materials to showcase his work and we chose a certain sequence for these (photographs), we sort of gave his work a timeline. We took you on a trip.”

Faisal refers to the exhibition as a love letter because his love for photography also stemmed from a personal experience where he was gifted his first camera by none other than his wife. From that, he began with visual research to explore his style in photography, and finally ended with scenery photography, specifically with cities and locales.

Just looking at the photos, we truly admire the detail-oriented and vibrant aspect of his work and how transportive it is, as you are directly teleported to wherever Faisal has landed his camera lens. And he himself enjoy his projects as much as we enjoy taking them in, as he states, “This time is enjoyment to me. This drives me … When you create something, anything— even Lego or puzzles — once you finish, there’s a reward, you get the sense of achievement and completion.”

In case you aren’t able to visit the exhibition, here are our favorite shots by Faisal:

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