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Bashar Al-Ja'bari: How the Study of Architecture Improves Photography Skills

Jun 17, 2021

Bashar Al-Ja'bari

Season 2 Episode 7

As creatives we have the power to create change.  Our industry continues to evolve, but at the central core of design is this hunger to make change with great impact. In this episode we meet with Bashar Al Ja’Bari, an extremely talented creative who uses his skills to bring awareness to humanitarian concerns through content creation for UNICEF Jordan. From visiting refugee camps in the area to capturing stories of the local people, Bashar has harnessed the power that photography and design create to bring awareness to the topic at hand. Bashar also enjoys travelling, taking his camera wherever he goes. 

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Megan Luedke

You're listening to Design Atlas Season two.



Jens Bringsjord

As creatives, we have the power to create change. Think about it. Our industry continues to evolve, but at the central core of design is the hunger to make change with great impact.



Megan Luedke

Today, we'll meet Bashar al-Jabari, an extremely talented, creative who uses his skills to bring awareness to humanitarian concerns through content creation for UNICEF. Jordan From visiting refugee camps in the area to capturing stories of the local people. Bashar has harnessed the power that photography and design create to bring awareness to the topic at hand. Bashar also enjoys traveling, taking his camera wherever he goes.



Jens Bringsjord

So, without further ado, let's buckle up and head over to Amman, Jordan, to meet up with Bashar Al-Ja’bari.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

I am making a good use of my skills and talents to help other people have a better life or improve themselves. It's a very great thing to me, honestly. And Bashar al Assad, very I am based in Amman, Jordan. I'm an architect, photographer and designer who graduated from architecture school in 2019. At the gym and at the university, I started doing freelance photography and graphic design since I graduated.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

Up until I started my social media internship at UNICEF Jordan in December 2020.



Jens Bringsjord

From an early age, Bashar was interested in learning how moving and still images were created from learning about a specific effect to the slight nuances in the art of taking photos. The star was interested in it all.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

I was always into TV shows and technology in general, so I always I always had questions about how things are filmed, how certain pictures are taken. I think I'll give out like a certain TV show is made. How much time did you take them to prepare for things and how do things happen in such sequence? That was always interesting to me.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

At first I used to have this kind of a point and shoot camera just like a digital camera. And then I had another camera that was a semi-professional camera, and then I had my professional camera and I'm still using it to make.



Megan Luedke

Growing up with different cameras in his hands before I really started to pursue photography and design, not just as a hobby, but as a possible career opportunity. After completing high school, he decided to study architecture as a way to improve on his fundamental design background. Shortly thereafter, Bashar was accepted into the architecture program at the German Jordanian University, which is a public university located in Madrid. Jordan University has some unique fragments in the programs offered.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

There is no other university in Jordan that is that obligates you in a way that you will spend a year abroad. We have like some sort of Erasmus you like Erasmus program that you can do with other universities but to be pushed to spend a year abroad. That was new to me and a new concept that I really wanted to experience.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

We have to spend one year in Germany where we are enrolled in a university for the first semester and we do an internship that is related to our major for the second semester. The concept was very interesting to me. I really wanted to experience this year in Germany and see how things would go. It was a bit different to me, like because we in the Middle East are not used to have this kind of an independent life.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

We all have to live with our families for a long time until we either get married or decide to move out. We have this option, but it's not that common. I was at the beginning very aware of what's going to happen with me, especially that I couldn't be at the same city with any of my friends. They were all around Germany, but I wasn't at the same city with any of my concerns.



Megan Luedke

Jens and I are all too familiar with being faced with the challenge of making friends and meeting new people when living in a new city or country. We've done it enough times, so we asked Bashar what his experience was before meeting us. Bashar actually studied at the Hotel Darmstadt. In Darmstadt, Germany, in 2017, when Younes and I were also sitting there, Bashar and I lived in the same apartment building and became friends during my last semester and his first in Darmstadt.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

Which I was like a little bit afraid of. But when the you today I was very happy about that because he had to break boundaries between myself and others and I had to make friends and it was also better for me. I don't have to always stick to the people I knew. It's always good to make friends and experience new things.



Jens Bringsjord

Before heading to Germany for his year abroad. Many people told Bashar that the German language would be difficult to learn.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

And when I started learning German, I really liked it. I thought that I'm having a good time. Actually, I still exist in the country, but it wasn't as hard as other people would have said. And from there, I learned to always experience things my way and not to listen. I do listen, but I prefer to just like my way.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

And after I experience things, I would give my own judgment. Maybe having to spend a lot of time alone was something I really wanted to experience, and I'm actually a fan of that kind of living like. I'm really looking forward to being able to start my own life anytime soon and to do my career either in Jordan or somewhere abroad.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

But I decided this kind of independent life.



Jens Bringsjord

While living and studying abroad for an entire year seemed a little scary at the beginning. Bashar was certainly used to traveling around the world with his camera and it's through traveling that he's really been inspired and pursued street photography in new countries and cultures.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

I went on a school trip in 2015 with my architecture school to Morocco and I was so lucky with the amount of history English. I did that and truly proud of until today. And I'm still I still post pictures from that to give back then. And still I really admire that because of the amount of the pictures I took.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

I think there's this one photo of an old man who was like sitting down on the side of a street that is somehow like wraps up the whole thing to me. Like whenever I'm talking about these pictures, it's like the picture that I'm sitting up only is unsurprising.



Jens Bringsjord

After finishing his degree at the German Jordanian University. Bashar's views on design and photography had grown to a deeper understanding of the medium and its context.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

I thought about myself with knowledge, about design movements and theories. I don't just take pictures as before. It's something that doesn't always have to happen. But I kind of started having more of a mature vision to things. After architecture, I actually started taking pictures, sometimes in a different way because of some architectural theories and stuff that I learned.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

And in class mainly, like I became more into abstract kind of photography where I'm abstracting things to make them make sense. But in my own way, you know, things might start to look good after, you know, abstracting them in a way. And that's something that I was not very used to because of architecture. I started having different kind of vision of things.



Megan Luedke

In 2019, Bashar went to Berlin with his camera and was very inspired by the architecture and the environment of the urban city.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

Walking the streets of Berlin can be really interesting to me. I like seeing the posters all around and the different designs and photography used around, and I really enjoyed being there, just checking random shops and looking at the interiors, looking at the posters that are all around the street and taking pictures of them without even having to be in a gallery or in a specific art place.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

I really enjoyed excited about them. Journey.



Jens Bringsjord

We then asked Bashar how he thinks the differences in his environment inspires his photography.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

One The difference would be to start from the place itself, selecting that kind of a picture that you will get from a street from a street in Morocco, which is different than the vibrant street and modern streets of Berlin or any German city. Also, sometimes when you are in a city like in a street, local area and in Morocco, people would approach you or talk to you or ask you about what you're doing.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

You would really have someone discussing things with you or just asking about what you're doing, designing like the differences and encounters and all that. I would like to have my camera with me, but at this age, when I travel, it's mainly for me to have a change, you know, and maybe just see someone who lives abroad or meet a friend.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

And a cell phone can be a really good alternative to a camera. It can be easier for you to capture the moment, but it can be inspiring for me on so many levels. But it is inspiring. But I look at it as a whole experience. Not only photography relates.



Jens Bringsjord

Since December of 2020, Bashar has been working as a content creator for UNICEF, captivating, unique stories and bringing local humanitarian concerns with a global audience. For Bazaar, his focus is to make videos and take still photographs to captivate the essence of the story that UNICEF is trying to tell.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

One offer pop up on the Internet, and I read the description. I know that I said that I had to be honest. I always had this thing for UNICEF and the work they do. And when I read the description and the job description and all that, I was very unskilled and I applied. The initiative is mainly concerned about vulnerable families and children in Jordan who may be lives and heart conditions.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

We try to make things better for everyone, regardless of their nationality or background or ability or the fact that we go cover a certain case or a certain story and then work on a production of them that would maybe raise awareness or would help with people. Know better about the programs that UNICEF do and the programs that we are mainly concerned about.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

So maybe it helps kind of to raise awareness. We all live in the same country, but we don't really know what is going on with a certain communities or certain people. So I'm glad because the content I'm helping creating is kind of eye opening and it helps the public know more about other communities and other people who may be who are maybe not living the same way we do.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

I work in the communications team we use usually. We are usually in contact with all of programs and teams at UNICEF. We got information from them about, about stuff that we have to cover and places where we have to go out. Either we work like we did in refugee camps or the host community. We go there, we film, we take pictures, we talk to the people and know more about the kids.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

So we are able to do like editing at it and have captions and all that. When you have something showing on social media or on TV or whatever it is, a platform, you helping these like these people being knowing of and you know, helping them having their voices heard. Yeah. And sometimes the captioning a success stories and people who were able to be successful still facing some difficulties in their lives and so on and all that feels really good to me actually.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

The fact that the fact that I am making a good use of my skills and talent to help other people have a better life and prove themselves is a very great thing to me.



Megan Luedke

Honestly, the pandemic has affected us all for Bashar. He noticed that his freelance projects in early 2020 ended abruptly and that he had to get creative to start new projects to keep going.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

I just tried to change the way I think to work so many things, but the fact that I like I don't always have to wait for things to come to me. I have to present my work because also the competition needs is very high, different, I can say, yeah, so you always have to try to stand out and to present yourself.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

I was also like I was productive but more at home. Like I used to do a lot of editing to pictures that needed editing or to projects I used to do to work on projects that were stuck at some level. And this small business where I'm, I print my photography doing the pictures that I took when I started or the street photography that I do.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

I came up with this concept with I'm printing my work and the visual up to that. I'm doing wall decorations and stuff like that, not only printing my work, yeah, it was a good, constructive out of the suffering we had because of that virus. And the fact that I wasn't able to leave my place to meet clients or to talk to people that I work with or to create new things outside, that was very main obstacle, to be honest.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

It's almost like I was supposed to work on some projects that stop so that we weren't able to continue because of the pandemic. I really went through not a bad time, but like a really good time thinking of my future and what this went for long and how am I going to pass through the next days, you know, but after that, I ended up coming up with that concept of printing pictures and having a product that comes out of my artistic side of my work, which is like printing my artistic photos and all that.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

So I could have but I could balance between things after all.



Megan Luedke

Striving to do good in the world is something that we as creatives, should continue to captivate no matter what artwork situation. It impacts through his photography and videography and creating a voice for those who may not have the privilege of having one. If there's anything you take away from this episode, it should be this.



Jens Bringsjord

As creatives, we need to stand up for what is right. Use our creativity and voices to bring attention to both the difficulties and successes in life and realize that being a creative is a privilege, especially to those of us who design and communicate to a global audience. In a noisy world, it's more difficult than ever to be heard as we continue to push forward, trying our best as a creative community to give a voice to those who may otherwise not have had one.



Bashar Al-Ja’bari

This is Design Atlas.



Jens Bringsjord

We hope you join us next Thursday as we travel to Tampa, Florida, to meet up with Nolan Perkins, a self-taught UX designer and front and developer and owner of Rand Collab, a company that builds custom design solutions using TikTok as a means of collecting user data. Want us to remind you of when the next episode comes out? Simply subscribe to our email updates by visiting design atlas pod dot com.



Megan Luedke

Find out more about Bashar al Jabari. We've included his Instagram and website links in the show notes. We recommend you check them out.



Jens Bringsjord

Also, don't forget to join us for our next episode by subscribing to the show and leaving a positive review. We really appreciate it.



Megan Luedke

To learn more about Design Atlas and to sign up for updates, visit our website at Design Atlas Pod dot com. If you want to get in touch with us or have a topic idea for our next episode, feel free to send us an email at Hello Design Atlas Podcast or DM us on Instagram @designatlaspod. Thanks for listening.



Megan Luedke

I'm Megan Luedke.



Jens Bringsjord

And I’m Jens Bringsjord.

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