I was born in Slemani in Iraq on January 3, 1987. I spent the first eight years of my childhood in Iraq and me and my family moved to Sweden in 1996. That was the best decision of my life. The possibility to live in such a free country gave me the opportunity to really grow as a person.
By the age of 16 I started senior high school and I majored in graphic and design. During my time in high school my interest in photography grew stronger. I started working as a telephone salesman to earn the money to buy my first DSLR since I thought that a modern camera would make me a photographer. It turned out that there was more to photography than that.
In 2007 I bought my first camera, a Canon 350D, and it was the starting point for my business that I named Tuana Photography, but later renamed to Tuana Art. At that time I couldn’t even set the aperture or the shutter speed but to my big surprise I still got several jobs. I learned a lot about photography through trial and error. After high school I decided to attend a photography school for a year, where I learned about both analog and digital photography.
After photography school I decided to go into teaching since the earnings from photography probably wouldn’t be enough to support myself. At the same time as I studied teaching I free-lanced as a photographer. In 2009 I got a position as a graphic – , design – and photography teacher at my old high school. Being just 22 years old I was the youngest teacher there.
Teaching thought me a lot since I got braver and learned to see things from another perspective. I could create assignments for my students out of my own creativity. Besides, I was a part of evolving the talent of youth and inspired them to create art.
The income from teaching made it possible to expand my business; I could get new cameras and other equipment that was needed.
In 2007 I bought my first iphone from the USA and I fell head over heels in love with it. I started using the phone more and more for photography. The photos weren’t really high resolution, but I didn’t care. Just the thought of having a camera with me everywhere was amazing and in the beginning I photographed everything around me. Everything from waste baskets to open sky.
After a while I realized that I could use the iphone to so much more than just taking pictures of things around me. I decided to have a photo-shoot with nothing else but my iphone. The model thought I was crazy, but when she saw the result she changed her mind. I realized that it isn’t about the quality of your camera or your lenses but it is about me, my imagination and my eyes.
At this time I discovered an app called Instagram for iPhone. With Instagram I could easily find a lot of other photographers who created art with their iphones, just like me. When I uploaded my pictures to Instagram they immediately got some response. It became a network where I could talk and share my thoughts with others, sharing the same interest.
I got more and more followers for every picture I uploaded and this inspired me to create even more. Besides, it was a big part of why I stood out from the crowd at Instagram. I decided to stick to a theme for the rest of the year, calling it ‘The Last Princess’. The models had long hair and beautiful dresses. All the photos are taken with my iphone, outside in local areas, close to my home. The only thing I use is my iphone and iPhone apps, no photoshop or DSLR.
Swedish media started to show an interest to what I created with my iphone and invited me to talk on the radio. TV4 interviewed me and the local newspaper wrote about my creations. In October I had my first art show with only iphone photos. The exhibition was popular and a lot of people were sure that the photos were taken with a DSLR. A lot of discussions followed to prove that they were actually taken with an iphone and that only apps were used to help me.
Now I am working on a photography book that will consist of 100 iphone photos and it is planned to go into print in December 2011 or January 2012.
My plan is to stop teaching in July 2012 and fully concentrate on my company Tuana Art. I want to grow as an artist and launch all the projects I have always dreamed of.