Jerusalem-born and San Diego resident Nadia Salameh is an award-winning photographer who is internationally recognized, not only for her achievements, but for her intensely personal and emotive style. Holding a Master of Photography degree and the title of "International Photographer of the Year" from the Professional Photographers of America, Salameh uses her friendliness to pull you in, creating lasting relationships with people all over the world.
Since she decided to focus on photography as a career in 1995, Salameh has captured many amazing moments in time, allowing all of us a glimpse at life in the remotest of areas within the remotest of tribes. From a lioness on the hunt to a shy boy in the Hadzabe tribe, Salameh uses her photography to show the threads that connect us all, regardless of race, gender, or culture.
Photo Credit Nadia Salameh
Check out our full exclusive interview with Nadia Salameh!
By Mila Pantovich
"As a young girl, seeing the National Geographic magazines with all these amazing images of people from different parts of the world, I was absolutely mesmerized - thinking about these people, wondering who they were, what their lives were like and how different they were from mine." - Nadia Salameh
"In wildlife I can plan everything down to every detail as far as the right time of day for optimal lighting and positioning myself in the best position to capture something...but animals don’t sit around waiting, they do what they do." - Nadia Salameh
"I went to photograph the Kumbh Mela, which is a pilgrimage where people gather in the Ganges river and it’s a ritual where they wash their sins away. It's the largest gathering of humanity in the world and it lasts for about a two month period and in that period about 100 million people come for this pilgrimage." - Nadia Salameh
"Traditionally [many tribes] wouldn’t allow anybody to photograph them because many of them feel like you're stealing their soul. I think as the western world has made its way over there and they see more and more people with cameras and people who have photographed them, they're more open to it." - Nadia Salameh
"The first time I meet the people and take the picture, often times I will show them in the viewfinder - one of the really cool things about digital." - Nadia Salameh
"Hopefully when they look into their eyes that they can see…they see a mother, and a mother in another part of the world is the same as a mother here and has the same concerns and compassion's and goals of taking care of her children. The exterior looks different but in the end we all bleed the same color of red." - Nadia Salameh
"That image I love, every morning when I go down to have my coffee, its hanging on my wall and is one of the first images I see and every morning I smile and look at his beautiful little face." - Nadia Salameh
On what kind of camera she uses...
"I'm not one of those people that are going to sit here and say it’s the best, it's what you have to have. You'd never ask a surgeon, 'What sort of knife do you prefer?' You trust the surgeon and you trust the tools." - Nadia Salameh
"Part of editing I absolutely hate…is the part where I'm sitting at times at my computer for ten hours straight before I realize its dark out and I haven't even had my morning coffee [laughs]." - Nadia Salameh
On her editing process...
"...I want to show these people for what they really are. I do basic enhancing, just to catch light in their eyes, contrast and exposures...that sort of thing." - Nadia Salameh
"A lot of these newer phones take pretty incredible pictures. I don’t think you can compare it with a professional camera, or a professional taking an image compared to someone just having fun…there's a lot more to it than that." - Nadia Salameh
"I think people who hire me could care less about my awards. If they like your work, that’s what's going to get you the job more than anything." - Nadia Salameh
"I have a few things that I'm working on, one is a personal project that I can't really talk about in great detail. [It's] one that is close to my heart and it’s a project I approached the United Nations five years ago to work on in the Middle East and they loved the idea." - Nadia Salameh
On traveling around the world...
"You go and have these situations and these amazing things come out of them. You meet people and build these relationships that would never happen under any other circumstances." - Nadia Salameh
"It takes time for me to come out of my shell and I think photography helped. When I'm behind the camera I'm a different person, I just sort of come to life. I'm totally in charge and I'm more extroverted and excited and creative." - Nadia Salameh
"I'm researching Antarctica for 2014 or 2015 - that’s not wildlife, that’s more landscape - but that'll be another big trip that will hopefully be in the near future." - Nadia Salameh